By Dr S V N Vijayendra
Mysuru, April 20:- Social isolation enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay for some more period, maybe for several months or even years. It may pose restrictions on several aspects of our lives. It may increase travel cost, especially to common man, as limitations are going to be enforced on seating capacity in buses, trains and in flights.
Social, religious, public and family functions may be scaled down as physical distancing limitation may restrict the number of attendees. It may avoid lavish expenditure on these events and affect both the catering and hospitality industry. Social distancing may become a setback for major celebrations and festivals for which people attend in thousands and lakhs and due to this, programmes that attract large gathering may get cancelled. It may affect the level or even conducting the scientific conferences, exhibitions, congregations, etc., where hundreds of students, researchers or public participate to share their knowledge or to know new developments in the area of the conferences or exhibitions. It may also indirectly affect the hospitality industry.
With a risk of infections through asymptomatic carriers and due to lack of sufficient economic resources, tourism industry may take a back seat, which may become a set-back to some regions or places, which mainly thrive only on the tourism industry.
It may bring some behavioural and psychological changes in people to make their lives sustainable. COVID-19 pandemic has taught people to live with what they have. It may put a brake on extravagant spending by people in the future and it may force people to think twice before spending on unnecessary things and consumer-buying habits.
A number of celebrations and functions may come down. People may fear to eat outside, especially street foods. Online shopping may increase even for daily needs to avoid the risk of exposure to crowded places and prefer touchless shopping experience when they go out for shopping.
People may tend towards self-service modes in public places. People may not venture to enter cinema halls or multiplexes and other entertainment parks as these are most crowded places in a limited area as a result entertainment industry may also see some downward trend. However, demand on television /internet-based media firms may go up.
Pandemics like COVID-19, as described elsewhere, can change the way we live, think and plan the future and it may affect our lives deeply (COVID-19-New human truths that experiences need to address; www. accenture.com). Where to live or work may become a more anxious process in the post-coronavirus period. To gain confidence, familiarity may play a major role while purchasing any item in the future. Hence, companies may focus on confidence-building measures. It may affect ways of communicating across transacting, working, consuming and learning which may have an impact on everyone. It may increase innovativeness in all aspects of life.
Coronavirus pandemic may increase health consciousness in people and businesses related to this will flourish in the future. Health ecosystem will dominate in citizens thinking. Covid-19 may increase home spending as people are habituated to stay at home for long-duration than ever before. Unnecessary trips to other places may cut down and it may impact travel and tourism business.
Many events may turn out to be in virtual mode, as people may not undertake travel unless it is very essential or due to travel limitations and prefer to remain local. A top down control mechanism may come into force in the society as a reflection of governments’ success in handling the crisis and greater acceptance for government and companies’ role in society may increase. Individualism may increase in society prominently.
(The writer is a regular contributor to City Today and Traffic Warden and member, City Traffic Advisory Committee, Mysuru)