Sarana’s managers, Tatyana, Jennifer, and I, have started working our way through a long list of considerations for re-opening: equipment needed; procedures to create for: cleaning and sanitizing, and tracking and treating clients; schedule revisions; furniture relocations to accommodate social distancing; costs, etc. This is as intensive a process as when we opened the clinic twelve years ago.
Meanwhile, a friend has been kvetching about shelter-in-place and longing for the day when life returns to its pre-CoVid norm. In my crystal ball, however, I see that that life is gone. Even if parts of the old life return, we will have changed. We will be veterans of crisis, aware of the fragility of norms and aware of our ability to adapt. I hope, in fact, that we don’t return to the pre-CoVid norm – I hope we do better.
These days, I’m accumulating a list of things I’d like to keep from Shelter-in-Place-Time. Foremost, I am stricken by how much this time highlights our reliance on each other’s labor – medical workers, yes, but also delivery people, caregivers, store clerks, service people of all types: butchers, bakers, home-makers, teachers, parents, and so many more. These are the people who keep us sane and functional. I’d like a post-CoVid world that continues to respect service workers. Even better, would be a world that pays them –that is, us—a living wage and guarantees basic benefits.
Something else I like of Shelter-in-Place-Time is our increased pedestrianism and use of the outdoors. I like seeing my neighbors out strolling, kids biking, families playing together in front yards, and happy well-walked dogs. I like seeing fewer cars and more people using the streets. I like the chalk drawings that are cropping up on sidewalks.
I hope we save our new habits of outdoor activities when post-CoVid time finally arrives.
And another thing: I hope we can work less whenever it is that we go back to “normal”. I hope that while sheltering-in-place, we’ve learned to enjoy time at home. I hope that we’ll want to make room in our lives to support home-life.
For now, I’ll return to designing Sarana’s re-opening but I’ll hold onto my post-CoVid hopes. Maybe if enough of us harbor the same hopes, we will succeed in making some of them come true.