When will this be over? When will physical distancing start to be a thing of the past? These questions are two of many that everyone is asking.
We don’t know the answers. We can speculate all we want. The reality is, we do not know.
Once people started to get wind of how serious this was going to be, grocery retailers were among the first to spring into action. In Canada, we witnessed a battle of news releases between Sobeys Michael Medline and Loblaws Galen Weston. When one said something, the other said something a day later.
They along with other companies announced pay increases for their front-line workers. Sobeys brought in plexiglass protective shields, Loblaws followed suit. Arrows turned up on store floors suggesting people go in one direction down an aisle. Store occupancy limits are in place and enforced. Markers are on the floor at cash registers suggesting proper distances between shoppers.
The difficulties surrounding this pandemic have changed the world. Through necessity it has changed the way businesses are operating. When the fog finally does clear, whenever that is, we need to ask more questions. The first one should be;
What if some of these changes were to become permanent?
Front line wage increases for the retail sector would be a start. What if those increases became permanent? Do not for a second think we should question if the major players in the business can afford those increases. Many of the large retailers are publicly-traded corporations, so their profit information is available through investment regulatory bodies. Twelve years ago, Sobeys was taken back into private ownership through a one billion dollar buyout of their remaining shares via majority owner Empire Co. With Empire companies reporting approximately $25.8 billion in annual sales, the math suggests front-line staff could easily keep their pandemic-pushed pay increases.
What if store occupancy limits were maintained and physical distancing was continually enforced? I could see an amendment that would reduce the suggested distances slightly. Could it result in fewer people falling ill? Would it mean some much needed extended relief on a healthcare system that was already strained?
What if people actually started appreciating what they already have? As a result of self-isolation and minimal trips outdoors, are you not spending more time with your existing things? Will you need to be out shopping for more things just because you will be happy to get out of the house? Is it really necessary that you keep ordering all kinds of extra things from Amazon just to satisfy a craving to shop? What if you realize that much of what you have, you don’t actually need? What if you gather up some of those things and prepare them for donation once everything reopens?
What if, after the restrictions are lifted, we start to live life better, healthier and with a more positive outlook?
I encourage any donations of items should go to thrift-stores connected to animal rescue once they can accept them again.