When we’ll return to these ‘normal’ activities, according to experts

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Eating this close to a person outside your COVID bubble could be a long way offWictor Karkocha/Unsplash

Epidemiologists answer your burning questions.

Many Americans are clamoring to get back to normal life, whether the novel coronavirus is gone or not (and it most certainly is not). The banal hallmarks of everyday life—hair cuts! restaurants! physical human contact!—seem pretty tempting after more than three months of varying degrees of isolation.

Now is, unfortunately, not the time to get back to all of that, at least in the US. We haven’t yet gotten COVID under control. Cases are surging yet again in many states, and some places are now reversing some of their reopening steps in an effort to curb the growth. So, more people than ever are probably wondering: when the heck am I going to be able to live my normal life again?

For those of us who don’t know any epidemiologists to ask personally, the New York Times questioned 511 of them about when they would consider returning to a slate of normal activities. Some were extremely cautious (a few said they may never shake another person’s hand again) and others were cautiously optimistic (one epidemiologist told the Times that they were looking forward to dating again). Together, their responses can give us some guidance about when we might expect to have some semblance of normality again.

Here’s what they said:

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These 4 industries are going to die

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We are not going back to our old economy. It’s over.

Right now, something incredibly positive is occurring in our society. It’s never happened before in world history (feel free to correct me if you can find an example).

Every scientist, health leader, politician, teacher, business leader, family member — everyone — is converging to solve one problem.

That’s incredibly powerful and gives me immense hope for our future.

In addition, I believe 3 factors will emerge going forward: convergence, disruption, and opportunity.

I’m seeing 2 convergences related to the American consumer that will have a massive effect on your business:

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The next big restaurant chain may not own any kitchens

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If investors at some of the biggest technology companies are right, the next big restaurant chain could have no kitchens of its own. Investors are pouring millions into the creation of a network of shared kitchens, storage facilities, and pickup counters that established chains and new food entrepreneurs can access to cut down on overhead and quickly spin up new concepts in fast food and casual dining. Powering all of this is a food delivery market that could grow from $35 billion to a $365 billion industry by 2030, according to a report from UBS’s research group, the “Evidence Lab”.

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American eating habits are changing faster than fast food can keep up

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Per-person restaurant visits dropped to 28-year low in 2018.

Home cooking would be making a comeback if it ever really went away.

Restaurants are getting dinged by the convenience of Netflix, the advent of pre-made meals, the spread of online grocery delivery, plus crushing student debt and a focus on healthy eating. Eighty-two percent of American meals are prepared at home — more than were cooked 10 years ago, according to researcher NPD Group Inc. The latest peak in restaurant-going was in 2000, when the average American dined out 216 times a year. That figure fell to 185 for the year ended in February, NPD said.

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Breastaurant Phenomenon Booming in the U.S.

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The very first Hooters opened its doors on April 1, 1983.

The term used to describe restaurants that feature scantily-clad women as waitresses,”breastaurants,” are poised to become one of the fastest-growing restaurant categories, according to Entrepreneur magazine. Although it is hard to tell exactly how much these restaurants gross since they are lumped into the more general casual dining category, Hooters sales now net about $1 billion annually, after increasing from the past few years.

 

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Transforming Albania’s 750,000 Mushroom Bunkers Into Hotels, Cottages and Bars

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Mushroom hotel room

Albania’s Enver Hoxha ruled from 1945 to 1985 and towards the end made North Korea’s Kim Jong-il look normal. Being a bit paranoid, he constructed an extraordinary three quarters of a million mushroom-shaped bunkers. That presents a lot of opportunity for creative repurposing and reuse.

 

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Cool Jet Hotels and Houses From Around the World

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Boeing 727 House

Not everyone opts for the conventional when building structures.  People have used unusual materials such as bottles, tires, and even trash to contruct their houses.  There are even vehicles that were formerly used as means of conveyance (e.g. buses, trains, trucks) that are now fashioned into unique dwellings.  Once they are stripped of seats and equpment they present ready-made, enclosed spaces (with windows) that are easily converted into rooms. 

Recycled airplanes are being converted into homes, hotels, restaurants, etc.  Here is a collection of cool converted airplanes from around the world. (Pics)

 

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