Last month, the New York Times surveyed about 500 epidemiologists asking about their comfort level with certain activities once deemed normal — socializing with friends, going to the doctor, bringing in the mail. That's all well and good for the experts, but they are a very niche group, not the majority of the population. What do "normal" people feel safe doing? In certain states, we've seen how comfortable everyone is with everything (looking at you, Florida), but we wanted to know where Odyssey's readers fell on the comfort scale. Are they sticking with the epidemiologists who won't be attending a wedding for another year, or are they storming the sunny beaches as soon as possible?
A lot of respondents have their priorities in order — when asked how soon they'll go to a salon or barber to get their hair cut, 59.1 percent of them plan to get a trim (at the very least) this summer. A lot of people feel comfortable going to public places that are taking the necessary precautions, like making sure seats are cleaned, stylists and clientele are wearing masks, and other guidelines are followed based on local mandates.
"I feel that if the shops are being extra clean and sweeping after each haircut, cleaning their combs & brushes thoroughly, this isn't a problem," Lexi Lock, a student at Troy University said.
For what it's worth, 41 percent of epidemiologists said they'd also get groomed this summer. Fresh tips for all!
Oh, and remember gyms? For most of the country, gyms and fitness studios are in the later phases of reopening, but 34 percent of respondents are ready to go back now, even as there's another surge in COVID cases across the country. Most said they'd hit the gym again in three to 12 months, and some are even more hesitant to go for at least a year.
"With no guarantee that equipment has been sanitized, I cannot see myself going to a gym for a long time," Marisa DiPaolo, Odyssey's Social Media Manager, said.
For the record, the Texas Medical Association lists gyms as one of the most high-risk settings for coronavirus infection.
People are slowly but surely starting to explore the outside world again, but a lot of people have different opinions about how they're getting to these places. About 40 percent of responders won't even dare to get on public transportation for at least a year, and in fact, nine percent of them never will again. How these folks plan on getting to work? Great question.
A higher percentage — about 43 percent — are willing to take planes within the next 3 to 12 months, at about 27 percent are comfortable taking them as soon as like, yesterday.
There are still a handful of people, though, who aren't as quick to get back in the air.
"As much as I love traveling, I already know flight attendants weren't doing that much cleaning so it's going to be a few months until I can get back on a plane," said University of Kentucky student Constance Woodard.
Our epidemiology counterparts actually fall pretty closely in line with these opinions. Forty-four percent of them are still likely to wait three to 12 months, and 40 percent of them are waiting that long before riding a subway or bus again. Sure, some of us never have to go into an office again (see Twitter's new remote policy), but plenty of companies are either already back in the office or planning to return to a "normal" work environment soon, even in coronavirus hot spots like New York City.
OK, OK. It's no secret that we're all pretty much over baking bread in our kitchens, much less cooking for ourselves every night. Three meals a day results in a lot of effort and dirty dishes! So does this mean a majority of people are ready to dine in at restaurants again?
Fifty-nine percent of responders said they'd go back to eating out as soon as now, but 16 percent said they're not likely to dine in for at least one year. A majority of the scientific experts surveyed are waiting at least 3 to 12 months to be waited on.
One thing everybody seems to agree on is that we're not seeing a concert, play, or sporting event anytime soon.
"No chance people are all wearing masks and not spitting everywhere while they cheer for their team or sing, so I'm hitting pause on attending sporting events, concerts, and plays for a while," Taylor Mead, Odyssey's Senior Editor of Swoon, said.
Do we miss cheering on our favorite teams and eating as many hot dogs (and cheese fries) as possible? You'd better believe it. But with a shortened (and fanless) MLB season, and a variety of other methods to keep our athletes in business, we won't be sitting on bleachers anytime soon.
As far as concerts and plays are concerned, you have "Hamilton" on Disney+ and that's about all you can expect there. Good thing the JoBros tour was last year, am I right?
No matter where you are on "normal life," it's clear that we can't just snap our fingers and jet back to the good ole days of un-masked pool parties and weekly manicures. The pandemic as a whole (not the lack of nail appointments) has taken a toll on individuals' mental and physical wellbeing. The sooner everyone is on the same page, the sooner we'll put this weird time behind us. Then, hopefully, we can all feel comfortable getting back on the city bus and on with our lives.