4 COVID-19-related changes that could outlast the pandemic
Friday, October 23, 2020
Masks, virtual learning, ghost restaurants, and increased use of hand sanitizer are just a few of the pandemic-related changes that could stick around after the health crisis ends. COVID-19 will leave its mark, and in more ways than one.
1. Face Masks
Could face masks become the new fanny pack? Fanny packs made a comeback in 2018 when Vogue announced them "vindicated." Today, designers like Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton make fanny packs, which retail for as much as $1,500.
Like fanny packs, masks are more useful than stylish, but both can pack a punch when it comes to making a statement. The longer we wear face masks, the more likely we are to see couture masks, streetwear masks, and masks with messages like "VOTE” on them.
The number of masks offered by companies increased by almost 40%, and in a single weekend, Etsy reported that buyers searched for face masks on its site an average of nine times per second.
Face masks will undoubtedly continue to sell after COVID-19 is over, albeit at a slower pace, as they become a fact of life much like sunglasses and hats. As with the fanny pack, we can expect consumers to purchase masks that make a statement.
2. Virtual Learning
Virtual learning is nothing new in higher education, but it's relatively novel in elementary, middle, and high school education. As educators and students perfect the art of teaching and learning online, virtual school will probably become a staple in the K-12 environment.
Like the Anderson School District Five in South Carolina, some districts are already announcing the end of snow days. When bad weather prevents students from coming to school, they'll attend class online instead of playing outside.
The extent to which school districts eliminate snow days depends somewhat on political appeal. Many parents and administrators believe that snow days are a quintessential part of childhood. Nevertheless, several districts will likely turn at least a few snow days into e-learning days.
3. Ghost Restaurants
Don't get ghost restaurants confused with something that happens on Halloween. A ghost restaurant is a business that serves diners exclusively through delivery using phone and online orders.
During COVID-19, many eateries switched to this model or opened a ghost restaurant within their restaurant, offering both dine-in and grab-and-go using remote ordering services. The results are impressive.
The parent company of Chili's, Brinker International, created a virtual brand called It's Just Wings, and it expects to generate $150 million. Likewise, FSC Franchise, the owner of two popular Florida restaurants, will launch a brick-and-mortar restaurant called the Hatchery after a successful online-only test run this summer.
Many of us have experienced the appeal of ghost restaurants in our neighborhoods and hope they'll stick around after COVID.
4. Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is nothing new, but it's showing up everywhere because of COVID-19. It's now a fact of life to spritz your hands as you enter the grocery store, doctor's office, school, shop, eatery, and car. Sales are booming as a result.
The global hand sanitizer market hit 2.7 billion last year. Spurred by the pandemic, the market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.6% until 2027.
Increased use of hand sanitizer will likely continue for a long time, and we'll see new brands of hand sanitizer in pharmacies, grocery stores, and convenience stores.
The Lasting Impact of COVID-19
COVID-19 is changing the landscape of daily life. While changes like using hand sanitizer more often are minor and easy to adopt, changes like working from home create significant shifts in our social landscapes. Only time will tell what the future holds.
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