May is here, and Utahns are now 1 week into discovering “the new normal.” Businesses around the state have begun to ease quarantine and social-distancing restrictions, many Utahns are left wondering how, exactly, to proceed. We’re getting emails from local gyms and medical spas saying they’re reopening for business on Friday, and yet, schools are still closed and many Utah employers are still encouraging, if not mandating, that employees work from home. Restaurants are half-opening, but also maintaining curb-side and delivery dining options. It seems like we’re all just wondering what “normal” will look like in the next few weeks, months, or even years.
Most of our articles are tidy lists, handy tidbits to help us all navigate life. But this topic, this procession into normalcy, isn’t so tidy. It’s not as cut and dry as many, perhaps most, of us would like it to be. We will have more content as things start opening up, and we have a better idea of whatever the future looks like. But true to our form, here are our principles for living in our first new wave of normalcy.
As evident on social media platforms and news coverage, the definition of social-distancing means something different to everyone. That’s going to stay the same on May 1. Whether you’re choosing to congregate with friends and family indoors or outdoors, or keeping your family quarantined, let’s try to use compassion as much possible. Yes, masks are preferable. We get it. They’re a protection for us, and all those around us. But maybe a mask isn’t available. Maybe that young woman or man has one small window to get their grocery shopping done and they thought their mask was in the car, but it’s not. The neighbor whose sister has been there nearly every day for a week? Maybe she’s offering a much needed break to your overwhelmed neighbor. Let’s just all try to give each other the benefit of the doubt, and recognize we’re all doing the best we can.
Keep the hand sanitizer and masks close by. Just because restrictions are lifted doesn’t mean the virus is magically gone, and people are still very much at risk of contracting the illness. Continuing to practice social distancing, proper hygiene and limiting unnecessary travel will all help in our continued effort to keep the virus at bay.
As we’re all slowly emerging from our homes, let us all be aware that a return to normal may look different, and will likely take longer, than any of us realize. Many experts predict that “normal” will take up to two years, pending the development of a vaccine. The economy will take time to recover. The virus is likely to make a resurgence as more people are exposed in public. Public sporting events and social gatherings will take time to start back up, and it may be a while before we’re even comfortable congregating in large groups. Returning to normal life will be an incremental process, living in a hybrid reality, a fine line between quarantine conditions and normalcy, but if we’re aware of that fact, hopefully the transition will be a smoother one.
What does your new normal look like? Share in the comments below!