This is a very uncertain time. Whilst many of us have now adjusted one way or another to life in lockdown and have new routines, none of us know when lockdown will end or how. What is certain though, is that this lockdown has had a major impact on how we live our lives.
For some people, these have been very drastic changes – having to live apart from loved ones as a result of shielding or being unable to leave the house at all, for instance. But even those key workers who are going into work day after day are experiencing major differences at both work and home.
In fact, there are very few aspects of our lives which haven’t been affected; everything from entertainment and leisure to travel and work to shopping and food. We have all had to make changes to the way we do these things, largely because we have had little or no choice. Whilst we will look forward to going back to doing some of these things the way we used to do them, we could also use this experience as an opportunity as a way of rethinking how we live our lives.
Many will have enjoyed going for more walks around their neighbourhoods or doing virtual quizzes with friends and families across the country or spending more time with their families as they work from home. All of these are things that we have been forced on to us by necessity, but which we might choose to continue to do after lockdown has been lifted.
There will be a period – potentially a very long one – of transition between lockdown and full normality. In this period, we are likely to have to continue observing some social distancing measures whilst going back to more of our normal activities. There will be challenges in this – for example, with public transport. There might be 12 people on a double decker bus or 30 on a tram all sitting 2 metres apart.
Whilst the temptation might be to abandon public transport for our cars, there might be opportunities for us to think instead about how to make it easier to walk or cycle. Our towns have been designed largely for cars, but this could be a good opportunity to rebalance them towards pedestrians and cyclists.
Whatever happens, I hope that we will be able to make positive changes – both in our lives and as a community – as a result of this crisis.