Although COVID-19 rates have been rapidly decreasing since the spike of the Delta variant this summer, the effects of this highly contagious and novel virus will be long lasting. Many industries changed their infection control policies and procedures in order to keep staff, customers and clients as safe as possible during the pandemic. Experts believe many of these adaptations are here to stay.
Two industries that rely heavily on prolonged face-to-face interactions in close proximity are the education industry and the personal services industry. Here are some of the ways these sectors will be forever changed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Barbershops, nail salons, spas and massage parlours—places where people are in close physical proximity with one another indoors for long periods of time—were hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and many instituted intensive cleaning and masking regimens in order to stay open.
Many have not relaxed these policies. Increasingly, clients are required to make appointments, and both clients and staff are required to mask up. Temperature checks and other screening techniques—in addition to mandatory hand sanitizing—is a common guideline as well. Some physical distancing measures—including keeping open chairs between people at the barbershop or nail salon—and a focus on ventilation are likewise liable to stick around for the foreseeable future.
Schools and colleges are among the workplaces most affected by the pandemic, with many institutions forced to switch entirely to e-learning for the better part of a year. Now that many have reopened for in-person learning, the CDC is recommending continued precautions. Hand sanitizing stations are now a fixture in classrooms and hallways. Indoor masks are mandatory. Students generally eat lunch in classrooms rather than the cafeteria, water fountains are only used to fill up bottles, and many districts have implemented testing and are offering COVID-19 vaccines for eligible students and teachers.
One thing that’s important to note, however: despite the increase in specific guidelines for dealing with COVID-19, a given workplace’s strictness is entirely defined by its workplace culture, and many guidelines are honored intermittently, if at all. Nonetheless, the pandemic has offered an opportunity for multiple industries to reset their workplaces and make them safer and more hygienic for everybody.
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