Our View: Let’s focus on the next normal
Since the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year grabbed pretty much the whole world by the throat, far too many people have called our current situation “the new normal.”
That couldn’t be more wrong. And, if you have a clown shoe handy, feel free to give a friendly whack on the head to anyone within reach who says it.
There’s nothing “normal” about what we’re going through. It’s been more than a century since the world had to muddle through a global pandemic — one that claimed at least 50 million lives on a far less populous planet.
This pandemic has taken fewer lives, but humanity has paid a heavy price, particularly economically and emotionally.
The good, if uncertain news, is that the world is adjusting fairly quickly, although U.S. cases are surging again. In the same way that our lives in January seem so distant, it’s possible that our lives today may look equally distant in the next year or so.
The question, of course, is what that “next normal” will look like. Will people be willing, or able, to gather again in restaurants, theaters and auditoriums? Will people be willing, or able, to travel as freely as they did in January?
There’s no way to know right now, but some of the evidence is encouraging. We still need to social distance and wear face coverings when in stores (please wear those coverings, folks — it’s just common courtesy and common sense), but we’re seeing signs of a move away from so much isolation.
Local ski resorts opened for summer operations this week, with restrictions. The local real estate industry is humming right now. Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, the valley’s largest realty firm, is reporting record activity for this time of year. The construction industry is rolling.
With that said, too many people in our valley remain out of work. Too many people are relying on food banks and other forms of assistance. Too many people have lapsed into substance abuse and despair. Too many businesses have closed.
Again, though, where we are today isn’t where we’ll be several months from now.
The success of the resort reopenings will tell us a lot. So will the coming Fourth of July weekend. In the months to come, when we get snow, and how much comes, will tell us even more about how many people are willing to travel, stay and play.
Whatever the next normal looks like, it may only vaguely resemble the old normal of January. But the next normal probably won’t look much like the last three months, either.
Until that next normal starts to gel, please, wash your hands, wear your mask and keep your distance.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Vail Daily Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd, Vail Daily Advertising Director Holli Snyder and Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller.
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