After almost two months of the shutdown, area businesses are gradually beginning to re-open. Many employees are making the transition back to the office, after working from home for weeks. Others are looking for work, some of them are adjusting to unemployment for the first time in their working lives. So much has already changed in just a few short months, and things will likely continue to change in some big ways as we head into summer. But as we start the slow crawl out from the worldwide pandemic, what will this "new normal" look like? And what can we expect in the months to come?

More people will be working from home: Regardless of whether or not a vaccine is developed, and even when the curve begins to flatten nationwide, a number of businesses are already implementing work from home options for their employees. Experts agree this trend is likely to continue. Depending on your profession, many workers can do almost, if not all of their duties from home. Obviously, some jobs just can't be done from home. But for many, this will be a welcome option and a desirable benefit for employers who offer it.

Hygiene will be a bigger part of our daily lives: This is undoubtedly a good thing. Hand washing has been noted as one of the most important things a person can do to reduce exposure to the virus. Using hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes have also seen a giant uptick in the past few months. These simple tools we use to defend ourselves against viruses and bacteria may seem like common sense to most of us, but because the pandemic has been such a giant part of our everyday lives, people are more aware of keeping themselves clean than ever before. You will notice more hand sanitizing stations at restaurants, ballgames, concert venues, and really anywhere large amounts of people tend to gather.

Buying Local will become more important: People stressing the need to "Buy Local", or "Buy American" is nothing new. But since the pandemic hit, a renewed effort to buy things locally has gained momentum. Buying Local helps put money into the hands of area businesses, which, in turn, helps the local economy. Buying American made products will help our country as we deal with the economic ramifications of the coronavirus.

These are just a few examples of some of the changes we will likely see. Our daily lives have been forever changed by this virus. It's hard to see in the present just what other effects COVID- 19 will have on our society. But if the past two months have shown us anything, it's that we're a resilient people, and we'll come away from this stronger than ever before.

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