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What Could Be Banned in a Post-COVID World

Restaurants, gyms, shopping, and a lot more will look different after COVID-19.

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There’s no denying that our world looks a lot different now than it did before 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of things that we once didn’t think twice about being able to do suddenly became banned for health and safety reasons. Now people are beginning to wonder what changes are for good and will continue into the post-COVID world. While some of these pre-COVID activities will return to our lives once more cities and states fully reopen, some things will, unfortunately, remain banned. Make sure you also check out the everyday habits that could (and should) change forever after coronavirus.

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Traveling without some form of “vaccine passport”

As soon as vaccine distribution really got rolling, the idea of “vaccine passports”—essentially an official certificate proving vaccination in paper form or through an app—also gained traction. The U.S. federal government has stated they won’t require such “vaccine passports” but many countries globally are, making it likely a vaccine passport will be an essential item for international travelers. One example of COVID-19 vaccine certification for travel is an app called CommonPass, made by non-profit the Commons Project. It’s designed off today’s digital boarding pass and meant to be just as convenient. “Unlike a passport, a document with which you have a decades-long relationship, boarding passes come and go,” Kathryn Tucker, co-founder and chief marketing officer of the Common project, told the Wall Street Journal. “This is a basic document that’s exchanged between your phone and the airline agent or border agent only.” If you’re looking for a smooth check-in for your flight, you should also follow these 16 air travel tips.

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Flying without face masks

If you find the idea of wearing a face mask on a multi-hour flight unbearable, this might be the time to try and find a different mode of transportation. “U.S. airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights,” Airlines for America president and CEO Nicholas E. Calio said in a statement. Even as the numbers of vaccinations rise, there are still unknowns that will affect mask requirements. Vaccines’ effectiveness at preventing transmission, the global progress of vaccinations, and infection trends will influence the use of masks long-term. And in a true post-COVID world, you’ll probably still see masks (or even use them yourself!). Using a mask when you’re ill or immunocompromised, especially in close quarters and congested areas, is a good preventative measure. “Basically, you are avoiding more than just COVID-19 by wearing a mask,” Stuart Cohen, division chief for infectious diseases at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, tells the Washington Post. “And I think that it probably does make sense to wear masks when you’re in these public spaces where there are clusters of people.” Here’s what travel might look like after coronavirus.

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Alcohol on flights

As airlines made big changes to navigate the new circumstances created by COVID-19, one of the things to go—quite decisively—was the in-flight alcohol service. The reasoning was to prevent passengers from lingering over their drinks, thereby prolonging time with their masks off. Now alcohol is beginning to return, but only to varying degrees depending on the airline. For example, American Airlines just brought back their full beverage service (including alcohol), and will soon bring back their regular complimentary service. Southwest, on the other hand, is still operating with limited complimentary service. Expect to wait a bit longer to get back to most pre-pandemic alcohol options. If you are considering traveling, here’s what social distancing looks like in other countries compared to America.

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Restaurants running in full capacity

Most of us have been eagerly waiting for the day that we can have a sit-down meal at a restaurant again. However, it is certain that our dining experience will look different than before once that day arrives. Jason Berry, co-founder of KNEAD Hospitality + Design told Food & Wine that he expected to see reduced occupancy in the dining rooms and bar areas of restaurants. States are currently making more indoor dining available as vaccinations have increased (capacities permitted dependent on the state). While the traditional indoor dining slowly returns, expect things like outdoor dining and other creative COVID-19 solutions to continue. Kathy Hollinger, president and CEO of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, says these new streams of revenue may be here to stay. “There are going to be so many more options and a larger reach in terms of audience for the chefs and restaurants to meet the foodie where they are,” she explains to Northern Virginia Magazine. Here are the things you shouldn’t do in reopened restaurants.

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Full-capacity group fitness classes

After all states but one fully shut down gym facilities last year, gyms are now starting to reopen—with varying requirements regarding capacity and masks. Whether a gym’s capacity is set at 10 percent or 50 percent, it will be some time before they return to pre-pandemic standards. And how many gym-goers will even want to return, in that event? Many people have transitioned to a successful at-home workout regimen and may stick with that, instead of ever returning to the gym (potentially making gyms less crowded). While “the vast majority of people” will return to their pre-COVID gym activities eventually, “at-home will become a part of the fitness ecosystem, it’s going to have an outsized platform,” BMO analyst Simeon Siegel told the Wall Street Journal. Check out the other ways gyms will change post coronavirus.

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Book clubs

Are you part of a book club? It might be a while until you get to physically go attend it again. Book clubs and other community events will mostly continue virtually or outside for the time being, as people get vaccinated and get comfortable with the idea of groups inside once again. Find out more about how bookstores and libraries will change.

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Spontaneous gym visits

The days where you were able to spontaneously drop by your local gym might be a thing of the past. For example, the well-known fitness chain Equinox will have members book visits in advance, and members will be limited to three 90-minute appointments in a seven-day period, according to ABC7. But who knows, scheduling your gym visits might help keep you more accountable.

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Beauty samples in stores

“Particularly when it comes to things like lipsticks and lip balms, I wouldn’t expect to see those set out anytime soon,” says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with “Other samples like lotions and perfumes may also be restricted, as even though it’s not a product that would go on your face, it’s still something that encourages multiple uses from all the shoppers.” And if you’re also a person who likes to get your nails done, here’s what permanent changes you might see at your salon.