Things That Shall Change After This Lockdown!!

Non-fiction Apr 18, 2020

For the last two weeks, we have been doing things differently. Such as no dining out, not going to the movies, hardly any visits to the grocery store, working from home (of course) and many such practices among others. I was wondering if all these ways of doing things differently are just for these special circumstances or they are here to stay. Hence what I have tried here is to compile all the weird thoughts that I have had. Let's go through them?

Tourism And Air Travel
All of us are reading continuously and diligently about the situation of the spread of the virus throughout the world (basically opening world-o-meters and checking the number of infected cases). And, amidst all of this, some pieces that catch my attention are those that try to talk about the collateral damage that the pandemic is causing (PS: even mine targets to be on that list).

One such topic is how badly the tourism and travel are going to be hit. This industry can shrink as much as 25% and lose around 50 million jobs (5 cr for those who can’t covert, you are welcome).
(https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/coronavirus-impact-on-tourism-hospitality-sector-covid-19-cases-india-farhat-jamal-6352249/)

Well, that is a very huge number if you ask me. And if you ask me personally even I would think twice before trying to move outside the city where all I leave.

Imagine that it is 2001 right after the 9/11 attack. Of course, all the airlines have grounded their planes. People are not going to travel for at least some months and we do not how long it is going to be.

However, it is very optimistic for us to think that air travel will continue after what has happened. Since some experts suggest that it will come to a standstill.

It sounds scary, right? As we all are living the reality today that the world did overcome and presumed the air travel after 9/11. This was because of the security and checking at the airports and places of accommodation getting more stringent than what they were. This is exactly what I feel may happen in the current crisis as well. Medical checks and prevention measures will become more stringent for whoever wishes to travel abroad. One such example which is place is the vaccine shot given to people traveling to African countries. Even places of accommodation will have their methods to identify potential medical threats and ways to avoid them too.

Will all this I certainly believe that after an initial setback the tourism and travel industry will be back on its feet and will continue soaring high.

Movie theatres?
When was the last time you went to the movies? Can’t remember, right? Yes, even I had to check the tickets entry on one of those expense tracking applications (Splitwise) and it turns out it was during the first week of February. With such practice of social distancing, will movie theatres continue to exist? In this massive wave of stay home-stay healthy, movie theatres have been hit bad. United States’ largest movie theatre chain is also looking ahead to file a bankruptcy. (https://nypost.com/2020/04/08/coronavirus-threatens-to-bankrupt-struggling-us-movie-theater-chains/)

If this practice of social distancing continues we may see at least a decrease in the number of people going to movie theatres if not it going down to zero.

  • Maybe they start making us occupy alternate seats? Well, it may take away some intimacy from the lives of horny couples. But I am totally fine with having both the armrests to myself and yes it’d a dream. No, I do not even want to smell the
    aromas of the over-priced samosas or the nachos with the tasty dip that you bought.
  • The other thing that may happen is that the theatres being modified with only luxury seat options where the other seat is far from yours. This may end up making the tickets getting more expensive. For someone like me who likes to go for the matinee where the hall is less crowded and the tickets are less expensive too, I wouldn’t like this luxury seat update.
  • The third thing that may happen is the closure of theatres eventually because of the tumbling revenues. If this happens where will we amazing movies like Housefull 16, Dhamaal, SOTY 8? I’d love to sit at home. But a world without movie theatres?

Online Content Streaming Platforms
Movies may soon start releasing only on the popular online video streaming platforms. It has started although the number is very small. What is your favorite OVSP (online video streaming platform) among the following – Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar and a couple of other low user base platforms? Mine would still be Youtube. If you ask me, I am not a big fan of any of them maybe because I do not own any of them nor have I borrowed any from my friends. But we may conclude with one thing that the market, competition, and quality of the content of OVSP may soon see a rise. This rise looks like it is here to stay.

Reduced Work Week
A lot of employees of IT firms are working from the comfort of their homes for two weeks. I know people who have been working harder than they used you when going to the office. Maybe this shall become a trend? I hope enterprises realize the cost-effectiveness of this. Following are some of the points which may help the enterprises save if not a fortune but at least a little portion of their budget –

  • Lesser Required Workspace (RIP real estate)
  • Fewer immovable resources such as furniture
  • If the company pays transportation allowances then it’d be saved too
  • Lesser carbon footprint
    These could just be the tip of the iceberg that we might have just unlocked. Maybe we get to go to the office every alternate day for important meetings that can’t be done over VC (video conferencing). I have a six-day workweek and it seems all right to me to report to work every alternate day even if it is a Saturday. I have also been a part of an enterprise that used to not call people at the office and asked people to directly report at the site itself (yes, it involved moving around the city).

Food Markets
Grocery biggies like Nature’s Basket or Growfers may have emerged in metros but these haven’t reached our small towns. I still (yes, even during lockdown) get my groceries and veggies from my local supermarket (they have started a unique way of taking and delivering orders which will be an article for some other day). Hence we may see a surge in the user bases of grocery delivery start-ups but I do not expect become mainstream until their network expands. I feel they will see this as an opportunity and start scaling into tier 2 and tier 3 cities. There will a lot of advances in the supply chain industry.

Supply Chain
We may have been sourcing a lot of goods from China as a country. More importantly, China has been a very important country to export innumerable goods to the entire world including India. I may not go into technicalities but if not the entire phone in your hand then at least many or some parts used in the phone must have originated from China.

China is a big player in the world of supply chain and for a while, the player has been sick lately, this has affected the entire world. This shows our dependency on this big player. Now that the player is ready to manufacture and ship raw materials and other semi or finished goods, the world has sealed their borders. First, the demand was not matched now there is no way for the supplies can reach the one demanding them. And, once the world has successfully fought this pandemic, the demand is going to surge and I feel China may have realized this and it may scale up the production and store all of it so that it can meet the demands of the entire world later on. Right now we have a situation which can be rightly termed as a standstill with very less or no movement of goods around the world except the medical supplies. (Yes, India is going to give HCQ to the US and the entire world because extraordinary times require closer cooperation between friends.(https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1247950299408498693).

Eating Habits
In Powai, Mumbai there is an only-delivery restaurant that doesn’t have the dine-in option. My friends and I wanted someplace to sit and eat and we ended going to another restaurant nearly which had dine-in facilities. It was the necessity at that moment but today the scenario is completely different.

Restaurants having huge dining spaces are suffering because of the ‘you-can’t-go-out’ rules (do not mockingly read this, okay?). With high rentals and no footfall, it is very difficult to survive. Whereas that only-delivery restaurant back there in Powai could be an ideal situation in the current scenario if we ignore the shortfall of the supplies. All of this has made me think about the direction in which the restaurant business would steer itself.

With the rise of the food delivery aggregators like Zomato and Swiggy (if you do not know Uber Eats has been acquired by Zomato) an only-delivery restaurant could be a way ahead. PS: If I get into food business then it is going to serve South Indian food during the day and Chinese during the night (by serving I mean prepare to deliver since it is going to be only-delivery).

We discussed various points ranging from social and behavioral habits that may change because of this pandemic. Some changes may be bold and some, mild. We can be sure that the human race will come out stronger out of this.

-Kavit Dodhia

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