By Brigitte Spencer

With all the negative headlines currently being reported in this worldwide pandemic, it makes you wonder, is there anything positive happening? Social distancing, online learning and working at home, curbside pickup and Zoom calls becoming the new normal. However, there are some positives coming out of this. Many small businesses have unfortunately had to close temporarily, but many food establishments have adapted with curbside pickup. This willingness to adopt a new technique helps their business and is a new way of serving food, which can now be used in the future if an individual requests it and wants to help keep social distance due to an illness.

It’s not just small businesses adapting, many manufacturing companies are changing their ways to meet the needs of our new normal. Several businesses have paused their normal product manufacturing and begun producing masks and hand sanitizer to help with the supply of these highly demanded items. Many distilleries across the country have been producing hand sanitizer, such as Anheuser-Busch, Titos and Jack Daniels. This is only a small list of distilleries that are doing their part and producing hand sanitizer that follows the World Health Organization’s hand sanitizer recipe. Additionally, many clothing manufacturers have begun to produce masks, such as L.L. Bean and Under Armour. These masks are shipped to the front lines of the pandemic and to those healthcare workers and first responders who need them the most. By changing what they produce, these manufacturers have been doing their part to help, improving the supply of these products. Their ability to adapt to the changes in the world is a smart business strategy and demonstrates that we are all in this together.

Another huge change we have all been faced with is online learning. At Bryant University the transition may have been smoother because we all use the same technology, but at other schools it wasn’t as easy. Currently across the United States, all ages are experiencing distance learning or teleworking, and this requires several different types of technology. From the pandemic we as a nation have learned about technologies, we never knew existed such as Zoom and Netflix Party. Having these technologies has allowed all of us to stay connected both in the classroom setting and in a social setting. This new awareness will help us to connect with people near and far and could benefit us after this pandemic is over. Everyone has gained more understanding of the technologies that are available and how they could be used far past this pandemic, when the shelter in place orders are finally lifted.

Social distancing is the now the normal for everyone right now. We all know to stay at least 6 feet away from other individuals, even though this could be considered a negative it also has positive benefits. In the future everyone will be more aware of their surroundings and hopefully stay away from others when they might be feeling a little under the weather. People have also learned to wash their hands more efficiently, which means in general people may be have a better understanding of the best ways to remain healthy and keep others healthy.

Social distancing, online learning, and teleworking means many are staying quarantined in their house with more time on their hands. This could mean that they are discovering new hobbies and activities they never knew they would like. People can now exercise right in their home with all the new online classes or even learn new recipes from online cooking classes from top chefs. New social media trends are occurring, with TikTok dances and thanking the hospital workers on the front lines. We are also spending lots of time with the people we are quarantined with, which creates a sense of bonding together and adapting in a crisis. After this experience, we are all able to take the time to learn about new things we enjoy, or the people we are spending time with, that we might not have had the chance to learn without this quarantine.

On the downside, there is a rising rate of unemployment and the economy seems to be heading towards a recession. However, there will be new startups slowly appearing. During the 2008-2009 recession many startups appeared that have changed our world, like Uber, AirBnb, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Square and Venmo. These startups have become a normal part of life for many, and they all allowed us to do things we never thought of prior to that recession. I wonder what new startups we will see after this pandemic and recession that will change our lives again?

So even though we’re in a time of turmoil, there’s a lot of things we’re unfortunately missing, and we see new negative news headlines every day, don’t forget to try and appreciate the good that will come out of this. Because there will be some good, and we will learn from this. So, in the meantime, wait it out, try and think of the positives, stay home, and don’t forget to wash your hands.