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What will it be like.....

Given the current circumstances, I've got more time than usual to ruminate on more unusual travel topics. One that I've been considering lately is what will it be like in Europe when travel begins again, especially for those who are the first to venture there. A few possibilities that have come to mind so far.....

  • Arrival - I wonder if there will be enhanced screening at Passport control for all incoming visitors, maybe for the foreseeable future? That might be as simple as a verbal questionnaire on health history or perhaps a thermal scan as well. The E.U. may require this of all visitors, regardless of which country they enter first.
  • Atmosphere - I wonder if the general "atmosphere" in European cities will be as vibrant and lively as it was in the past, or whether the mood will be somewhat subdued, especially at the beginning?
  • Tourist facilities - I wonder how many of the favourite hotels and restaurants we've become used to will still be operating? I expect there might be a lot of revisions needed in the RS guidebooks. Will the same coach firms and drivers that have taken RS and other tour groups around Europe still be operating? Finally, will Museums and other attractions be enforcing "physical distancing" or limiting the number of people allowed to enter at one time, at least in the beginning?
  • Wineries - as some of you may know, the Okanagan Valley (where I live) is a large wine producing area. Some speculation has surfaced in the last few days that not all of the wineries may be able to survive the pandemic. Many of them don't sell through the liquor stores, so they depend on customers who actually visit the wineries or order online.
  • Restrictions - I wonder if tourists from all countries will be allowed to enter Europe, at least at the beginning. If a particular country is still experiencing active cases of the virus, travellers from those countries may be restricted.
  • Travel Medical Insurance - I imagine that insurance companies will have added some exclusions to their policies that will include Covid-19 and similar viruses. It's likely that costs for medical insurance will be higher, especially for us older travellers and especially for those with pre-exisiting medical conditions.
  • Transportation within Europe - it's highly likely that not all the budget airlines will survive the pandemic. Those airlines that are able to resume flights may not be operating normal flight schedules for many months, and prices will likely be higher than in the past. Rail networks will probably be operating more-or-less normally, as many of those are operated by governments.
  • Cruises - I wonder if it's possible that some cruise lines will disappear in bankruptcy? The cruise lines may have to mothball some ships, as I doubt that they'll be able to get back to normal passenger loads for a long time.

I'm sure there will be other changes that I haven't thought of. All businesses will be focused on getting cash flows back to normal.

With such an unprecedented and severe event, of course no one knows what will transpire several months in the future. However I find it interesting to think of the possibilities. I don't think it will ever be the way it used to be, so we'll probably all have to get used to a "new normal".

Happy Easter to everyone on the forum!

Posted by
3790 posts

I think it's going to be interesting to see what the airlines do with regards to pricing. On one hand - there will be people just champing at the bit to travel again (*waves hand in the air) but on the other hand, a LOT of people will be taking a BIG financial hit during this and won't have the means to travel anytime soon. And will the people with the cash to travel still want to travel anytime soon? But fewer planes flying/less competition could mean price hikes.

It's going to be intriguing (or infuriating, depending on prices) to watch.

Posted by
9409 posts

A very thoughtful list, Ken. Of course, I have no answers but the same suspicions.

Europe recovered after WWII and perhaps with their Democratic Socialism more businesses will survive. This article from today’s Washington Post is quite enlightening. Whatever happens, I know we will go back as soon as possible.

Stay well!

Posted by
4947 posts

For all the businesses that close permanently, there will be new ones that pop up to take their place, as long as the demand is there. Same thing here in the US.

I've said it before, but I am hoping that RSE will be helping by providing regular information on the situation in Europe, using their network of staff on the scene, and the folks that participate in the forum.

Posted by
1014 posts

What I've been wondering about is what changes we'll find in the fine print in all agreements. Not only what travel insurance won't cover and entry requirements across borders, but also added health requirements to get onto a plane, into a hotel or onto a cruise ship. Will there be clauses? I also wonder about getting off those cruise ships into any port, how welcoming those cities will be.

Posted by
908 posts

I think the cruise industry will take a big hit. No one will want to travel on one, especially the 8 story ones that hardly fit into the harbor. Thankfully.

Look for the airlines to increase prices when lockdowns are lifted. There will be an increase in demand and for the airlines to make a profit, the fares will rise. For me, another reason not to rush out to travel.

I do think AirBnB's will still be hit as many neighborhoods will not want foreigners coming to stay near them.

I don't see travel becoming "normal" again until at least next summer. That's why I'm waiting until fall 2021 to travel.

Posted by
2486 posts

I’m wondering if venues that have seemed too crowded will impose restrictions on number of people allowed in at any given time from crowded city centers to museums, concerts, sporting events, etc.

We traveled in Europe for the full fall semester with our university students in 1998, 2001 and 2005. One of those years showed me what it could be like in Europe after this pandemic as we were already there on 9/11/2001. I have often thought about being the only people in the room with the Mona Lisa again or one of 5 people in the Sistine Chapel seeing the beautiful marble floor for the first time or walking up to the Acropolis by myself like we experienced, but I don’t wish this for any person or place under any circumstances but I think it will be different.

Posted by
339 posts

Along this path I was wondering what cultural changes this may cause. And while it is hard to predict at this point as we still don’t know how bad it may end up or how long it may last. Presumably the longer and worse it is the more drastic the changes in culture we may see.
A few thoughts.
-Hand Shaking. This could very well end up a thing of the past. And more physical forms of treating such as in Italy and France may be effected as well.
-Face masks. These have been common in some Asian cultures, but will it spread to Europe?
-The European tradition of being out and about and sitting in cafes and restaurants and all that enjoyable “community togetherness “. Will that change? Some of my most enjoyable times on my trip to the South of France was sitting in an outdoor restaurant that was one of many such in a sq and just enjoying the large crowd of (mostly) locals who were out and about, This large community gathering for no obvious reason (such as a sporting event of holiday) is uncommon in the US but seams to be a pretty regular thing in many countries in Europe. And I wonder how that will survive.
-Work locations (not really travel oriented) I wonder if some businesses may move to more work online/remotely after this is over. As some companies learn that they can work remotely will it increase the number that do this after the pandemic is over? It has a few advantages in that you can get away with a smaller office (or perhaps none) and you can have employees that live far away from your company. Heck an employee could fly to Europe. Take a weeks vacation. Spend two weeks working from Europe. Take another week off and fly home having spent a month in a rental home in Europe. Or even the whole summer. If you spent 5 weeks in Europe taking every Monday and Friday off for a long 4 day weekend. You would only need two weeks vacation. Less if you get some holidays in it.

So I think at this point very little is sure except that the world will be different in the future. What still remains to be seen is how different.

Posted by
10891 posts

Atmosphere - I wonder if the general "atmosphere" in European cities
will be as vibrant and lively as it was in the past, or whether the
mood will be somewhat subdued, especially at the beginning?

How do you predict your own community and friends will react?

Posted by
10891 posts

For all the businesses that close permanently, there will be new ones
that pop up to take their place, as long as the demand is there. Same
thing here in the US.

Hope you are correct, but if I were a betting man I would put my money on a 5 year recovery to near normal if the attitudes and views on this forum are the norm. But that's just my wild speculation.

Posted by
1862 posts

Hmm, maybe in the very short term there will be some hesitation in engaging in close cultural contact with the same gusto as before, but that will be short lived. The cafe culture in Paris seemed to actually be reinvigorated in the 1920's after the 1918 pandemic and WWI. No I think the longer term changes may come more from a political/economic standpoint. Pandemics in history have proven to be shocks to political and economic systems.

I hope this will be a wake up call for citizens to see what's truly broken in the system they inhabit. If you tie health insurance to employment, and then you have mass amounts of people living paycheck to paycheck without a social safety, what would happen if a big system stressor like coronavirus comes along again. Perhaps some people will recognize that if you have a healthcare system that is built on the notion of supply and demand (i.e. prioritising profit and efficiency) over the equitable provision of public health services, how is one going to provide for those most vulnerable? Especially now that so many have lost their jobs?

Posted by
6542 posts

Arrival - I agree that there may be more questions to travelers and possibly a thermal scan.
Atmosphere - Its doubtful at first that things will be "normal". May take a few years to get the "feel" back into European society.
Tourist facilities - "Physical distancing" and limiting the number of people allowed to enter at one time may come with more stringent reservations and increased prices at attractions. Hotels should still exist, but many with new ownership/management.
Restrictions - Expect travelers from a particular country experiencing active cases of the virus to be tuned back.
Travel Medical Insurance - New exclusions to policies will include Covid-19 and similar viruses and costs for medical insurance will be higher.
Transportation within Europe - It's doubtful all budget airlines will survive the pandemic. Remaining airline prices should be higher. Rail networks supplemented by governments should continue but maybe with fewer trains.
Cruises- Have been sources mostly of food based virus' in the past, and they'll experience closer government oversight in the future. The industry will take quite sometime to regain consumer confidence. Not all companies are expected to recover since the industry will be grounded for quite sometime, and maintaining non-revenue ships is beyond expensive. Royal Caribbean has put all their resources into a few mega ships that cost $1.5 billion each, and they may be in a heap of trouble vs. cruise lines with older, smaller ships that are less expensive to run. Expect some cruise ships to be sold and names changed--reallocated to other parts of the world.
And this is all TO BE CONTINUED . . . . . . . . . . .

Posted by
6146 posts

Airlines and pricing - That will depend on how many are left standing, including budget airlines, and the usual dynamic of degree of competition on a particular route. Some airlines could completely fall out of the code-share alliances, so those links will need to be rebuilt (if not, then travel from some areas will require more stops and less direct routing). In terms of revenue, airlines are much more dependent on business travel than leisure travel so it really matters what the business travel landscape will look like in the future. If anything, this period confirmed that a sizable chunk of work can be done without person-to-person connections, so we'll have to see how much business is permanently shifted to video/teleconference (especially if they need to save money). Airlines will not be able to charge leisure travelers more than the market will bear, so I guess they will be experimenting with all sorts of incentives to get people to fly (changing their miles programs, fare categories, rules, etc). I personally don't think they will be able to price leisure travelers out in this economy unless they can somehow get enough business travelers at high revenues to make up that difference.

Cruise ships - Major reforms are needed after this debacle of cruise ships sailing well after it was considered safe and with no means to protect their own workers or passengers on board, or plans on how to disembark. Several clusters of COVID have been ascribed directly to cruise ships and I don't think the public will forget this utter mess of deaths and sick people, as well as their shameful environmental record. If some large cruise ships disappear, the secondary tacky markets around cruise ports will disappear as well. Of course, that also means lots of jobs lost. The Caribbean and Mexico will suffer more without that traffic, much more so than Europe. But cruise ships in their current form are unsustainable especially for certain hotspots where they're doing real harm (hello Venice!). And, yes, they do have a larger footprint than other forms of travel in terms of emissions. I am surprised how many people are itching to cruise again, especially older folks with health vulnerabilities. Unless they have a better business plan for infection control, I would stay clear.

General travel - It would probably not be a bad thing if the tourism footprint shrinks altogether to give many sites and locals breathing room and time to get some control over certain areas that are overtouristed and at risk of damage (Venice, Cinque Terre, etc). The lack of planes and cars and other vehicles on the road have also been a gift to the environment too. That's a good thing.

Turning inward and negative effects - Europe is not monolithic, and I don't expect all countries or areas or people are going to welcome tourists with open arms. Some will turn inward and will want to protect their locals and avoid outsiders, or cast blame on them. Sadly, I think there will be lingering anti-Chinese sentiment, racism, etc. which means other Asians will probably be affected - whether they are locals or tourists.

Posted by
4947 posts

Regarding US airlines, I am wondering if there will be enough traffic in the medium-term future to sustain all three of the majors (United, American, Delta) for international travel. I don't see fares dropping to entice travelers, rather I see them going up to pay for fixed costs, deferred costs, and "loan" payments. Its pertinent to deciding if a continued bailout is warranted, or we should just pick a winner. It would be interesting to know what other countries see as the future of their airlines.

I know its all speculation but its distracting to ponder such things. Some of us have a limited window of future to plan travel for.

Posted by
1071 posts

Finally, an intelligent discussion. My only worry is how we can take precautions to avoid a recurrence of the Virus.

Posted by
10891 posts

The numbers each day tell a little different story. So let's see what we know in June. I suspect it will be a bit better than our fears. Hopefully a better understanding will bring better treatment, cutting the numbers a bit more. Each step along the way we decide what to do as a society. I suspect given the choice between another shut down or a vaccine not tested to the usual standards, a lot of us will be vaccinated by January.

Posted by
6146 posts

I suspect given the choice between another shut down or a vaccine not
tested to the usual standards, a lot of us will be vaccinated by
January.

I doubt those two extreme choices will be the only ones - there are also therapeutics and prophylaxis that are under development as a bridge to any vaccine (there's still no vaccine for AIDS and yet therapeutics like antiviral cocktails were able to lengthen affected patients' lives drastically and filled the gap). A vaccine that is not rigorously proven to work by January? No, thank you, I'll pass on that. There's a reason that standards are in place. Cutting corners on testing for effectiveness is not going to make the stock market rise because it won't eliminate uncertainty. Even if a vaccine was discovered today, how long do you think it would take 1) to ramp up production to cover everyone 2) to advertise to the US population and 3) to implement medically? I don't know the exact answer, but I don't think it would be a matter of just a few weeks or even months. And that's just the US - other countries would need to do the same.

Posted by
6146 posts

I don't see fares dropping to entice travelers, rather I see them
going up to pay for fixed costs, deferred costs, and "loan" payments.

I think it's worth considering the offsetting costs of fuel which are down dramatically from the prior year, and represent a huge cost saving. Jet fuel price is down over 64% from a year ago (https://www.iata.org/en/publications/economics/fuel-monitor/). Labor and fuel costs are the airlines' largest expenses - the reason why Southwest has been so successful over the years is that they've successfully hedged their bets and pre-purchased fuel when prices were low, and they've been able to hold down labor expenses. If planes are grounded or employees are furloughed, airlines can save a lot in operating expenses in the interim - then, low fuel prices can give them a lifeline. I don't think fares are uniformly guaranteed to go up. It's more nuanced than that. There are a lot of variables in the mix (also the bailout money).

Posted by
1878 posts

It's hard to see how cruise lines will survive. They are not going to get any government bailouts because they structure their businesses to avoid U.S. taxes (ship's regsistry the Bahamas, etc.) and labor laws, while at the same time drawing a lot of their customers from the U.S. and employing almost no U.S. workers. I am not anti-cruise, have taken six or seven including two in Europe but I thikn they may be doomed. U.S. airlines are likely also headed for bankruptcy.

It's hard to imagine returning to my normal state, where a Europe trip once a year is more or less a given. What if I go to Scotland and can't get back? How long do things have to be more normal before I feel OK taking that chance? Time will tell.

Sometimes following some sort of crisis - major corporations like cruise ship companies, airlines, and hotels will give great discount pricing. The long-term thinking is just let's get people "back in the saddle" again. I have seen this with hotels in NYC after 9/11. Southwest Airlines did it I believe after 9/11. Cruise ships have faced multiple big issues over the years. (Example: ship capsizing in Italy.). Corporations will endure short-term losses for longer term survival and gains. Also, some corporations get government bail-outs which helps them with long-term viability. The return for government comes in the form of job preservation and taxes.
I think traveling immediately after a "fiasco" can be a good deal for travelers. The downside is that some sights, etc. could be shut down.
I know a travel agent. She said that many cruise ship customers are just rescheduling for later this year. She's busy helping them reset their travel plans. They are "chomping at the bit" and ready to go!

Posted by
1421 posts

Hand Shaking. This could very well end up a thing of the past.

I certainly vote for this. My company always held their annual employee meeting in December. Several thousand of us shaking hands with others from around the world, bringing home each other's illnesses as unwanted souvenirs. We all went home sick for Christmas.

Posted by
757 posts

To things I’d expect to see, until such time as a vaccine is available:
- A quarantine period of 14 days for all none EU/EEA/CH citizens entering Europe not for essential reasons such as tourism.
- Many tourist attractions will remain in lockdown or seriously restricted access in line with social distancing rules
- The size of the income supplement packages put in place for the tourist industry suggests that governments don’t expect to see things loosening up in the coming months.

The Switzerland government just added 120 days to all unemployment benefits. So in practical terms that means people on in the tourism industry have about 370 to 670 working days of benefits at 70% to 80% of their salaries - so on average about 2+ years before they need to go back to work.

Posted by
1038 posts

This speaks only to atmosphere and finances, I've traveled in The First Year After to a couple of hurricane impacted places.... the surviving restaurants, etc, have been thrilled to have patrons again.....
Of course there was no virus involved.

Posted by
339 posts

Keep in mind that pandemics of the past did not have the 24/7 news media and the constant presence of the internet keeping the pandemic so front and center.
This will have more of a psychological impact then it would have in the past with a daily newspaper and a radio.

Even when I was a kid it took a major event to get on our local news. Now it seams that every shooting in the country is reported on all local news programs and we used to have three or 4 hours of news now our local stations have 3 or 4 hours in the morning an hour at lunch a couple hours at dinner and an hour or so in the Evenings and that is not counting the new stations.

So people are being bombarded with this virus in a way that no other pandemic has ever had. This may very well have a longer lasting effect then otherwise may be expected.

But once again until we know how many get infected, how many pass away, how likely it is to return (historically pandemics tend to have three waves and often the second is the worse, but this has behaved differently in many ways so who knows) and how easy it is to detect and what we can do about it. Until some/most/all of these we really will not know the long term effect of this.

Posted by
6146 posts

To things I’d expect to see, until such time as a vaccine is
available:
- A quarantine period of 14 days for all none EU/EEA/CH citizens entering Europe not for essential reasons such as tourism.

If that happens (and it's reasonable to assume it could), it will certainly decrease the number of US based trips to Europe for those still in the workforce. Most non-retired people don't have 14 days total to spare for a single vacation, let alone an extra 14 days just to self-isolate before the actual vacation starts. Most US workers just don't get that much vacation time to take at once and, if they do, they still need to allocate some days for seeing family, domestic trips, personal leave/ mental health days, etc.

If the US employer or state imposes an additional 14 day quarantine upon return, then that would make 28 days. In which case, travel to Europe is off the table...unless you're retired.

Posted by
10891 posts

Many countries have the same isolation rules as the US. Given a choice between long walks in my neighborhood and long walks along the Danube for two weeks? Not a hard choice.

But lets see what happens. We have two camps here:

  1. Pitch forks and hangman's nooses for all outsiders.
  2. Tourism industry workers have families to feed and will welcome the opportunity to work again.

I have my wish here, but really no idea which camp things will lean to. I have contacted some folks I know work in a restaurant and another that works in a bar; both serve tourists to some degree, both want to see tourists asap. But thats a pretty isolated sample. I may just know people who think like i do and am missing the other 99%.

Posted by
8569 posts

Ken......nobody knows. No one knows what will happen next week let alone a few months from now. What will survive and what will not? Nobody knows. Will there be major changes? Nobody knows.

The only thing we can be sure of in the future is death and taxes. Everything else is just speculation.

Posted by
338 posts

If the US employer or state imposes an additional 14 day quarantine upon return, then that would make 28 days. In which case, travel to Europe is off the table...unless you're retired.

Even if you were retired, would you really want to pay for 14 days quarantine in a foreign hotel even before you were able to go out and see anything and then experience 14 days of isolation when coming home? I feel exhausted just thinking about that.

Posted by
10891 posts

Even if you were retired, would you really want to pay for 14 days quarantine in a foreign hotel

Best to check the terms of the "quarantine". If its stay home except for long walks and shopping, then ..............
But what ever the rules, as a guest you should adhere to them to the letter of the law, and not knowing the law cant be much of an excuse.

Or go to Sweden when they will have you.

Posted by
30932 posts

Frank II,

I agree, as I mentioned earlier no one knows what will transpire several months in the future. I was just musing about possibilities on how travelling in Europe may be a different experience in the post-pandemic world.

It's possible that some in Europe may turn inward, and want to keep foreigners out, but there will likely be a larger group whose livelihood depends on tourism so they'll want cash flow to get back to normal as soon as possible. Government bailouts are only a short term measure.

So many questions.....

Posted by
1119 posts

Airport lines could be comically long due to temperature checks.

I wonder about hesitancy to travel until people have to verify that they're immune to COVID-19, meaning they've either had the disease or have been vaccinated. Also some concern about getting stuck somewhere if the virus flares up again.

Posted by
13930 posts

Airport lines could be comically long due to temperature checks. That won't be a factor. I went to the supermarket this morning and the temperature check at the entrance took less time than checking a boarding pass. And would a temperature check be meaningful? People have high temperatures for other reasons. Will they refuse to check in a passenger who had a slightly high temperature? And how many people would plan trips knowing that a rise in their temperature a few hours before departure could mean last-minute cancellation along with potentially substantial financial loss (plane fare, hotel nights, train tickets, prepaid tours). What about the vacation time - would you just show up at work?

Asian tourists. . . . will Chinese, South Korean, Taiwanese tourists return to Europe? They may be less impacted financially - the way it looks now.

Posted by
10891 posts

If the US employer or state imposes an additional 14 day
quarantine upon return

Interesting question; if the government does not impose a quarantine, can an employer impose one without compensation with out a specific job related cause? ie. your job puts you in contact with high risk individuals. I suspect sooner or later that would end up in court.

Quarantine is an interesting issue. What kind of quarantine? At home? In a hospital? At a base? Also, how well do quarantines work? One group of people could face quarantine while others continue to enter the country without quarantine. Lots of globe trotters means disease being carried into the USA in many locations and in many different ways. So, the effectiveness of quarantines needs to be addressed.

Posted by
74 posts

Blockquote Stan: I know its all speculation but its distracting to ponder such things. Some of us have a limited window of future to plan travel for.

I'm sitting here planning a trip for September and I agree completely with you. Unfortunately I waited until I was older to travel and now the window is rather narrow. I'm ready to go...but this thread is giving me pause...;(

Posted by
1421 posts

Here is a sign of what it may be like to travel in the days before a vaccine:

https://www.cnn.com/travel/amp/emirates-passengers-blood-test-covid-19/index.html

"Perhaps a sign of what the future holds for air travelers, Dubai-based airline Emirates has begun carrying out Covid-19 blood tests on passengers at the airport prior to flights."

"The airline has not stated whether any passengers would be refused boarding based on the results of the test."

"Etihad Airways, also in the UAE, announced it's set to trial new self-service kiosks at its hub airport in Abu Dhabi in late April to help identify travelers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of Covid-19. The technology is designed to monitor the temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate of a passenger."

Posted by
1503 posts

Right now my company has a policy in place that anyone who traveled out of the country would have to Quarantine from the office for 14 days. However we can work from home during that time. So I don’t think that it’s a real problem for us. Of course they put it in place right before the lockdown

Technically I was subject to this rule because I was in Mexico but I can’t really tell a big difference between my Quarantine from the office and everyone else’s lock out.

Posted by
10891 posts

I am wondering if someone will take it to court. If the government doesn't require it, and if there is no clear special circumstance, can you be barred from your work because you made a legal trip someplace. Will be interesting to see if it happens and how it plays out.

Posted by
6146 posts

I don't think workplaces will look the same after people are allowed to come back. For one thing, the physical layouts and work norms will probably have to adjust to promote physical distances between employees (like closing of common areas where people used to congregate or eat lunch, etc.). I don't think any white collar employer isn't genuinely a bit worried about how things will play out (if this seems out-of-this-world, there are already Wall Street Journal articles like this one: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-employer-will-test-you-now-11586714684?mod=hp_opin_pos_2). Employers don't want COVID clusters at their worksite or for one non-symptomatic employee to infect several others, causing massive absenteeism and worse. Employees won't be comfortable coming back unless they feel safe and protected. Our condo even had to implement new procedures for our cleaning staff and contractors who have to be here daily or frequently.

I don't think having someone working from home after a vacation for some period is equivalent to keeping them from work. They are still expected to deliver and will get a paycheck. Obviously, these are white collar professional jobs. It would be more tricky with factory or blue collar jobs where employees may have to be closer together to accomplish their work (or be closer to customers). New procedures will have to be put in place. If the employer doesn't do it, the government will shut it down (see the case of the meat plants in South Dakota).

Posted by
23 posts

If the US employer or state imposes an additional 14 day quarantine upon return, then that would make 28 days. In which case, travel to Europe is off the table...unless you're retired.
Even if you were retired, would you really want to pay for 14 days d in a foreign hotel even before you were able to go out and see anything and then experience 14 days of isolation when coming home? I feel exhausted just thinking about that

Gotta laugh here. Even if I was retired and just hit the mega millions jackpot for over 100 millon, I wouldn't put up with that type of nonsense just to travel to Europe. That's how you know such absurd/ridiculous rules will fall apart shortly into the future.

Posted by
10891 posts

Of course you are assuming you know what to expect in the near future. And it depends on the definition of quarantine. We throw that word and stay-at-home and lockdown around pretty liberally. The only country I have read enough about to discuss treats theirs pretty much like we do ours. So a typical 2 weeks of vacation it wouldn't be, but you aren locked in a room either. I wouldn't visit a new place under such circumstances, but I can think of 2 previously visited places that would be nice. But who says this will be the situation in June, July or August?

Posted by
1119 posts

Chani, good post. I suppose airport lines wouldn't be slowed much by temperature checks and some type of verification that you've have immunity to COVID-19. And yes, what if you have a mild cold and a bit of a fever? That's a very real possibility when travelling.

As many of you have articulated, my primary concern would be getting stuck somewhere if the virus flared up again. My employer would NOT be happy.

Also, remember a lot of people, perhaps most, don't have the luxury of working from home. No work, no pay. For workers that can't work from home many of us here are living in a fantasy world.

Posted by
31 posts

I don't think workplaces will look the same after people are allowed to come back. For one thing, the physical layouts and work norms will probably have to adjust to promote physical distances between employees (like closing of common areas where people used to congregate or eat lunch, etc.).

My employer just opened a brand-spanking new headquarters complex last year with the open seating concept (which I had read was on the way out but gotta love those forward thinkers at the top).... my area consists of 4 ft long desks side-by-side, no walls, just 1 ft high dividers, no offices (not even for the C-Suite, they have open areas also, only bigger), just some conference rooms and 'focus' rooms for one. I was extra lucky and my spot is right next to the small connector hallway where the restrooms are for the entire floor. Will improve collaboration and discussion they said ... sure does, now it's so noisy at times you can't hear yourself think ...can't eat lunch at your desk they said, have to either go to the cafeteria and hope to find a place to sit or use the 1 break area for the floor ... good luck enforcing that one now. I hate it but have gotten used to it. One of the popular concerns raised when the design was finally shared with the peons was 'just wait until someone gets sick, everyone will catch it' ... of course that fell on deaf ears ... guess what boys and girls ... going to be interesting when they give the 'all clear' and it's time to come back to the office ... good luck trying to stay 1 ft away from others, let alone the now standard social distance.

Posted by
1071 posts

To DQ: We ran into the open concept design for our new public county business office. It was designed to allow for more natural lighting...so has a large common room with the desks only separated by low profile walls. They were asking for opinions from the user public. Having been a real estate agent I was in an office that at first was designed this way...they soon discovered that there was no privacy for all the phone calls you must make...they had to do extensive remodeling to add small enclosed offices with windows; especially for the top agents working with clients. Now things have evolved to higher use of smart phones so maybe my point is moot. But can you imagine a building contractor trying to get all his permits lined up while at the next counter someone is protesting their real estate tax, and the next counter has another problem. How is anyone suppose to concentrate. Another thing is that there is not enough storage. Sometimes real world experience is worth more than a degree in design architecture. They had to stop the interior finish work because of the quarantine, but hope someone will be able to make some spacing changes.

Posted by
1014 posts

I work in the office furniture industry and the current trend before Covid was still open plan but also much more common space for for team collaboration. High Schools and Universities especially were opening up large common areas that included the library, study areas and group project areas; everything that we're now being told to avoid. The next couple of years could turn the industry on it's ear. Here's an article speculating changes. https://knowledge-leader.colliers.com/colin-scarlett/post-covid-19-office-design-and-market/

Posted by
1071 posts

Allen: Great Article! Reminds me of the time I sought to find a private space to wait out my Husbands 6 hour operation. I found a room that was for use as a private counsel and stayed there away from the air-conditioned open space waiting room with the pass through traffic. Some of us like to be more secluded and not chilled.

Posted by
1119 posts

Before a vaccine is available I wonder about classrooms. I mean, talk about a petri dish. Perhaps still better air quality than an airplane. C'mon, vaccine people!

Posted by
30932 posts

BigMikeWestByGodVirginia,

"Before a vaccine is available I wonder about classrooms. I mean, talk about a petri dish."

The concept being considered for classrooms here in B.C., at least for grade and high school students, is staggered classes. That means that class sizes will be half the size they are now, and desks will be located at suitable intervals for physical distancing. To make that concept work, classes will run in "shifts" from about 08:00 - 19:00. I imagine they'll consider a similar arrangement for University students. I'm sure the details are still being worked out, and I'm assuming the desks would be sanitized between each "shift" of classes.

As all airline passengers in Canada will have to wear masks starting tomorrow, I'm assuming the airlines will still try to use the "sardine" approach in airline seating.

Posted by
6146 posts

I'm genuinely concerned about public transit and what it will look like. I cannot imagine how anyone where I live (or in NYC or Chicago or Boston or the Bay Area) is supposed to commute to work or take leisure trips via subway if there has to be social distancing. Public transit is a necessity in Europe and in the dense regions of the US, and many tourists and locals rely on it. Transit cannot really afford to be half-empty because it's heavily subsidized "as is". In the US, there is little political appetite from one party to keep it afloat and I'm sure there will be pressure to cut even more.

Posted by
4947 posts

Agnes, people will take a lot of risks in transportation if it means the difference between earning a living and starving. But from what I see around me, the concern over the risk is waning pretty rapidly and most people are already choosing to ignore the cautions.

Posted by
6146 posts

Agnes, people will take a lot of risks in transportation if it means
the difference between earning a living and starving.

That's true for low(er) income people who have to get to work and perhaps have no other means of doing so, but what about better situated tourists (the audience of this forum)? Or wealthier people in general who don't want to take such risks? I take public transit on just about every trip I go on (in Europe or elsewhere) simply because I'm very comfortable with it and it's a reliable, economic way to get around. I just hope people (who can afford to) don't all take to driving - the congestion and air pollution in major cities like Paris will go through the roof in no time. I think public transit will be a less attractive proposition for those who can afford alternate means, especially in the US. It would be a nightmare (and a real shift) to see tourists driving to see the sites in Washington DC.

Also, Uber may not survive either. Its business model has required a bunch of VC money pumping it up and subsidizing each ride (which is below cost for consumers, who love it for that reason).

Posted by
10891 posts

I think what the discussion is uncovering is that, in time possibly, the future will be very much like today ... with a heightened awareness. Or, we just step back about 100 years when it comes to quality of life.

Posted by
1071 posts

Be Cautious Everyone! You probably know someone who knows someone and that is all it takes. We are trying to flatten the curve here. We do essential errands but take necessary precautions. Society may have to make changes so no one gets stranded.

Posted by
3225 posts

Uber may not survive either

Well, if Uber fails because the venture capital dries up, it was destined to fail no matter because that means it has a business model that was flawed. A business that does not at least break even is not a good option.