Life After COVID-19: What Will Summer Look Like?
Millions of people have been waiting for life to resume a new normal after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but we're far from being out of the woods. As restrictions in the United States begin to ease up, case numbers have started to increase in the South and on the West Coast. This spike has been helped along by holidays like Memorial Day and by people’s desire to get outside and enjoy summer after sheltering in place.
Many Americans tend to travel during June, July and August to make the most of the sunshine or kids’ summer vacations. However, due to tighter travel restrictions, greater health threats and a significant rise in unemployment since January, it's likely that the tourism industry will see fewer travelers in the summer of 2020.
As we seek to return to a state of normality, it's important to recognize that "normal" has now changed in the wake of the novel coronavirus. While some of these changes are easily recognizable, some have yet to truly take effect. Here's a brief glimpse into what may lie ahead for us in the coming summer months.
How Did We Come to Enjoy Summer Vacation?
Going on vacation, or holidaying, is a relatively novel norm for Western cultures. While travel itself is nothing new, historically speaking, it was once quite common for the average person to stay in their small village or town for their entire life, never venturing outside of their immediate social bubble. Only merchants and the wealthy had the opportunity and means to travel.
Why Are Experts Predicting a Summer Spent at Home?
Throngs of tourists may have been frustrating in summer vacations past, but they’re now potentially lethal. Because COVID-19 is highly virulent and contagious, it is possible for anyone of any age to contract and spread it. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems are most at risk for falling dangerously ill after contracting the virus, but perfectly healthy folks also put themselves at higher risk when they expose themselves to crowds.
How Can We Replace Summer Vacations?
Summer vacations are difficult to replace. The thrill of traveling somewhere new, seeing the sights and trying interesting activities and cuisines is part of the experience. But there is hope — and there will be plenty of summers after this one. About 80% of the US population lives in urban areas. And while many are familiar with their closest gas station, grocery store or favorite shopping centers, there's likely many areas of your hometown that you've yet to explore. Make it a point to visit that little mountain town you’ve always wanted to see or hike those trails you’ve yet to traverse. You can (and should) still get outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine; you just need to plan ahead and do it safely.