5 habits that are here to stay in this “new normal”

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The province has eased COVID restrictions as patient numbers continued to go down. But as we start to go back to “regular programming”, expect that things will not be as regular as before. The virus threat is still here and we must remain vigilant in order to prevent a second wave of cases. This means continued physical distancing and stringent personal hygiene. Aside from these, we can expect to keep and develop new habits post-pandemic such as:

  1. Limiting exposure to risks

    Physical distancing and avoiding crowds are here to stay. It will take some time before we let down our guards and attend a fully-packed event, especially those that are held indoors like concerts or sporting events. Extra caution will also be practiced when we use shared spaces like washrooms, cafeterias/lunchrooms, or even water coolers.

    Likewise, non-surgical masks have become an important accessory and a must-have for daily life. Many retail stores, public service agencies, clinics and offices now require patrons to wear them (read Should you wear a mask? Here’s a Q&A to help you understand why you should).

    Aside from wearing masks, we will adopt other cautious habits like:

    • Using cashless payments and other contactless means – While paying in cash will still be accepted, paying with cards, over the internet, or via self-checkout will be the norm. Also, more will be opting for food delivery or curbside pick-up rather than going inside stores or restaurants.
    • Opting for virtual clinic appointments – Have you tried tele-medicine? This may become the method of choice for consulting your family doctor for non-emergency health conditions.
    • Less contact with hands – We’ll be more careful when using often-touched objects like ATMs/ABMs, door handles, railings of stairs or escalators. Touching these should be immediately followed by hand sanitizing or washing.
  2. Picking up new social etiquette

    Keeping two metres away is the new social norm for common courtesy. Shaking hands, having high fives or fist bumps, as well as hugging, or kissing are shared only with those who are part of our households. In the business world, it would be smart to know corporate social distancing guidelines before attending a job interview or meeting new business partners. We’ll probably develop alternatives to these social greetings moving forward.

  3. Choosing alternative ways of entertainment

    Are you up for a socially-distant picnic? Interested in watching in a drive-thru movie theater? People will continue to choose safe entertainment like:

    • Staycations. Going to parks and landmarks within their area.
    • Virtual concerts, festivals or tours.
    • Watching streaming services like Netflix, Disney +, Apple TV and others (instead of going to the movies).
    • Online shopping instead of malling or window shopping.
    • Less eating out, more eating home-cooked meals.

    Attendance at entertainment hubs such as malls, moviehouses and stadiums is expected to be low as people continue to be cautious.

  4. Using the virtual platform

    The quarantine gave us the opportunity to experience the power of online tools. Even when we go back to our schools and offices, expect that online means are here to stay not only as an alternative but an essential component for providing information and services. For example, schools are combining on site and online classes to help manage student numbers and allow them to create staggered on-site schedules to make physical distancing possible inside classrooms. Even some businesses are permanently opting for a hybrid work model after experiencing that remote work is not only more productive, it’s better for employee well-being (and retention).

    As online platforms continually improve and boost security and privacy features, businesses and organizations will permanently employ virtual means for critical elements of their operations like registration, payments, and essential services like trainings and orientations.

  5. Proof of vaccination

    As of October 2021, COVID-19 proof of vaccination has been required for all travellers on domestic and international flights, as well as for rail and marine passengers in Canada (Boarding flights, trains and cruise ships in Canada).

    Provincial and territorial governments have made COVID-19 vaccine records readily available (online and printed) with the help of the federal government. More private and public businesses such as restaurants, movie houses, and government and non-government offices (for example, the YMCA) have started requiring these from clients upon entry. Expect the COVID-19 proof of vaccine to be required in gatherings and public events, and even become a employment requirement in many fields and occupations.

    Do you need your proof of vaccination? Go to: Immunization Cards and Immunization Records (Manitoba.ca).

Article updated October 29, 2021.
Sources:16 coronavirus tips: How to help keep yourself healthy when going out in public, Jessica Dolcourt, c/net; Life after COVID: What will change? The Medical Futurist; Etiquette of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Emily Post Institute; and What is coronavirus contact tracing and how important is it as Canada reopens? Maryam Shah, Global News. Accessed May 28, 2020.

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Community Resources

Going back to work? Check the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety–Pandemic (COVID-19) tip sheets for guidance for higher-risk and essential occupations and industries.

Learn more about the COVID Careful MB Program.

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