14th Jun 2020 @ 10:25 am

One thing has been made very clear during the lockdown in Spain – home is a safe space for you, and for society. When you’re at home, you’re unlikely to be exposed to infection. More importantly, you are not going to infect anyone else.

The laws are more relaxed for those who share the same living quarters, because if you haven’t caught it now, you’re unlikely to. But now that we’re actually allowed to have friends and family around again, many of us will accept that there is a risk – however small – involved. And that risk may change the way we live.

There’s little governments can do to enforce social distancing behind closed doors, so instead, governments have been encouraging people to do their own enforcing. Even now, when cases on Lanzarote are virtually non-existent, there are people who are afraid to leave home.

The truth is that many of us may feel a little less comfortable about having friends around for social gatherings, unless we can be sure that the risks of infection are reduced or eliminated as much as possible. No one wants to maintain a 2 metres distance from friends during a dinner party, but we’re also a lot more wary of sharing each other’s air.

On Lanzarote, we’re lucky-. For most of the year we’re able to socialise outdoors. However, it’s also true that many of us don’t take advantage of this as much as we should. Now things are likely to change, as house holders develop outdoor areas to allow social interaction, while the interior becomes a more private, secluded retreat.

This intimate retreat can be seen in many old Canarian and Spanish houses, where inner chambers were intensely private places, darkened and closed off to preserve coolness. It’s a style that’s fallen out of favour in the age of open plan, light and airy shared spaces, but it could be something we see a return of.

Protecting the Public

The new normality is already causing huge changes in those places where the public gather once they’ve left their homes, and there are sure to be many more to come.

Restaurant terraces are more distanced, and it’s now common to see handcleaning gel, tissues and gloves at the the doorways of shops and businesses. Protective screens are now being installed everywhere to separate customers from employees, and security guards who were rarely visible before, are now busy marshalling shoppers and even taking their temperatures.

For business owners this is likely to involve extra costs and reduced profits from footfall. We’re going to see a lot more online business, a lot more reliance on cards rather than cash and a future where any kinds of crowds are viewed with suspicion.

Hotel handwash

The hotel of the near future is likely to monitor guests at the entrance to check their temperature.

The receptionist will check guests in behind a Perspex screen, and handcleaning gels will be available in the lobby.

Rooms will be disinfected thoroughly between guests. Remote controls, light switches and other items may be laminated, and we’re likely to see a reduction in decorative features that are difficult to clean.

Buffets will serve pre-plated food and the survival of the open buffet system we’re currently used to is debatable. Staff will be required to steam clean places between diners.