Cities have been locked down for weeks, and it’s already hurting the economy badly. After months of keeping people in their homes and asking businesses to close down, lockdown restrictions are starting to ease up.
Government officials and businesses alike need to devise a plan on how to make people practice social distancing, given these new developments.
They need to develop guidelines for the “new normal” to strike a balance between addressing this global pandemic, opening up the economy, and ensuring the social and physical well-being of their constituents.
It may take some time before people get used to the “new normal,” given that they’ve been isolated in their homes and are already longing for human contact. Without guidelines and interventions in place, things will just take a turn for the worst.
So, how can you ensure that people will not sneak in that human contact they badly needed? Well, places around the world are already starting to be creative.
“Human Parking Spots” in Domino Park, New York
New York is one of the badly hit states of the coronavirus pandemic. As of this writing, they have around 360,000 cases – a number higher than any other country in the world.
Domino Park, a privately owned park in Brooklyn, New York, painted large circles spaced six feet apart to ensure those park goers will maintain a safe distance.
With the painted circles, people are seen to laze around, sunbathe, take some rest, enjoy a picnic while practicing social distancing. The “Human Parking Spots” has enough space for people to move around and spend quality time alone or in small groups. It also prevents them from interacting with neighboring circles.
Since the park is privately owned and not managed by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, we are yet to see if other parks in New York will follow suit.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio already hinted that beaches in NY would be closed all summer. Will he support Dominos Park’s initiative and perhaps, have some circles in the sand.
Noodle Hats in Germany
Cafe Rothe in Schwein, Germany, is giving its customers the pool-noodle hats for social distancing. The noodle hats are made of lightweight straw fedoras with a pair of crossed foam noodles expected to keep people at a certain distance. Since they are lightweight and floppy, they will not damage people that get too close.
However, if people wish to be close to each other, they can still easily do so. Even with the noodle hats, they can still hold hands and hug each other – therefore, diminishing its purpose.
Noodle hats will then serve as a reminder to people that life hasn’t returned to normal yet.
Bumper Tables in Ocean City, Maryland
A more active social distancing measure was invented by Fish Tales Bar and Grill in Ocean City, Maryland, with what it called “bumper tables.” It’s waist-high rubber inner-tubes on wheels with a hole in the center so customers can insert in their body.
Even if restaurants are not yet permitted to accept dine-in get, the designer of the bumper tables shared that other restaurants in the area are interested in the concept.
Holywell Village First School in Northumberland, UK
It’s not just adults who will experience social distancing but kids too. With countries already allowing the return of students to school, schools also took the initiative so kids will practice social distancing.
Desks are taped off to indicate the limits of kids and to remind them not to go near each other. Some hula hoop play spaces encourage kids to play in isolation.
These measures have gained some concerned feedback, especially with its effect on the kid’s social well-being.
Portable Hood in Toronto
A Toronto-based company designed a portable hood that can be worn over the head. Its size and shape can be compared to that of a baby’s car seat, but its fog-proof plastic shield can protect you from pathogens, allergens, and air pollutants for 12 hours without the need for battery charging. The portable hood weighs 2.7 pounds.
The world is scrambling to get a hold of what life will be like after this pandemic. For sure, we have to start letting go of the thought that we will be going back to the normal we’re used to anytime soon.
With the virus continually spreading and the vaccine still at works, initiatives like the ones above are welcome.