As we look forward to the easing of Covid-related restrictions, it is easy to talk about getting ‘back to normal’. But will that happen? What does ‘normal’ mean? What kind of ‘normal’ do we want? It is entirely possible that some restrictions like ‘physical distancing’ (and maybe face-coverings in confined places) could be with us for some time because of public health authority concern over vigorous mutant strains of the virus appearing. The hospitality industry is certainly preparing for it. Although some people cannot wait to go on foreign holidays, shopping in the likes of Braehead, and spending the weekend in the pub or clubbing, others are now very apprehensive of mixing with other people, even if they have been vaccinated. ‘Normal’ will not include shops like Debenhams, or many hospitality venues. Many businesses have not survived the last year, and many people have lost their jobs and sources of income. Many clubs and organisations, including churches, have seen a very significant drop in income, and wonder how many of their members will return when it is possible to do so (have they got out of the habit?). And do we want to go back to exactly the world we had in 2019? Or would we like a ‘new normal’ and if so, what would that look like? What are we going to do about creating a ‘new normal’?
Lord, we find it difficult to cope with the present restrictions. We have fond memories of things we used to do, but often manage to blot out the things were less good. We look forward to the future, but aren’t clear what that will be like or what we would like it to be. Help us to cope with whatever the future brings, and to do our part in shaping it