Post-pandemic precautions

Chloe Williams, Assistance Web Editor

COVID-19 in America has changed pretty much everything. What we once did without a second thought now disgusts us and we cannot imagine how we used to be “so gross.” With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the decline, the “end” to the pandemic does not seem as obscure. With mask mandates lifting, social distancing declining and crowded events being reinstated, we beg the question, what should we take away from this experience? Should everything go back to how it was? 

One of the biggest changes during the pandemic was going out to eat. In the beginning, restaurants were closed or switched to takeout only. As they slowly began to open back up, a new list of rules followed: plexiglass dividers were placed separating customers from staff and each other, cooks and servers had strict mask requirements and gloves became a necessity. Looking back on life pre-pandemic, I wonder why these requirements were not enlisted earlier. The usage of gloves and hairnets seems like a no-brainer, but coming from someone with years of experience in the restaurant industry, you would be surprised how little regard there is for cleanliness. Post-pandemic, I strongly believe we should still hold restaurants to these standards; things like plexiglass in between booths provide a greater sense of privacy and, in my opinion, makes the experience better when you are not an inch away from a stranger’s head or can hear their entire conversation. The usage of masks in the kitchen is something that I believe would expand the quality of the restaurant and the food, securing the customers’ trust in their purchase. 

The biggest debate during the pandemic seems to have been surrounding the mask mandates. Those who are pro-mask argue that their usage is beneficial for the health and safety of them and those around them. On the contrary, many anti-maskers argue that these mandates infringe on their rights. The requirement of masks post-pandemic can be a pretty difficult topic, but I think in some situations, masks should still be required. Mask mandates in hospitals, airplanes, the food industry and any other places at risk of quick-spreading germs should still be valid. Requirements in these environments promote a better sense of health and safety for everyone involved. In regard to the “normal vaccinated citizen” outside of any of these places, I do believe post-COVID-19 they should be given the choice on whether a mask should be worn or not. Before coronavirus, it was normalized to push forward and show up to school or work feeling under the weather or even sick without the usage of masks. This unsanitary practice was once practical, but it is no longer accepted with the current state of health sanitation.

Our world was flipped upside down in 2020 and we are still dealing with the fallout from the effects of COVID-19. Even though cases are declining and the urge to return to “normal” is escalating, it is important to remember what we have learned and taken away from this experience. Our world will never be the same, but is that necessarily a bad thing?