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Have COVID-19 habits and social guidelines become our new normal?

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Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States we have seen a shift in the way we communicate, the way we approach personal hygiene, and the way we would normally enjoy our time with family and friends.

But is our new normal already here?

"I just don't know," said Ted Guerrero. "I would like to say that oh we'd be able to get over it more quickly."

Guerrero lives in Las Vegas, but owns a martial arts business in San Diego.

After hearing President Trump's three-phase plan for states to reopen, he's hopeful he'll be back to work, but is not quite so sure what it will look like.

"Proper social distancing, maybe with a gym like 24 Hour Fitness we can probably do that by splitting machines up," said Guerrero. "But for people like me, I would assume it probably means I have less students on the mat and will have to separate them out more."

The Webb family from Henderson also hopes businesses can open back up soon so that they can enjoy their old traditions of going out.


"Definitely would like to go to a movie again, maybe a little more distancing, half of the auditorium filled or something like that," said Richard Webb.

UNLV Assistant Psychology Professor Stephen Benning believes once once places do reopen it could be a little while before they fill like they did pre-COVID-19.

"In the beginning of relaxing the social spacing guidelines there will still be a large number of people who will still want to wait and see what's going on with everyone else before they go out and push themselves to do the same things that they used to do," said Benning.

"I think it's one of those things I'd be worried about being in big crowds right now, or being in places where there's a lot of people real close to my family, that would freak me out a bit," said Guerrero.

That's not the only habit Benning believes will take a while to return to.

As 20 second hand washing routines and keeping hand sanitizer close by, have become a necessity during this pandemic, he says some of these rituals may still stay in place.

"I suspect that we will see the hand washing posters remain up," said Benning. "And there will probably be an increase in the number of people who abide by the World Health Organizations guidelines for hand washing length this way."

"It's made the world more cautious with the hand sanitizer and the washing of the hands," said Jennifer Webb, a Henderson resident. "I mean we learned it as kids, but as we get older we kind of ' oh wait no wait' and you're not. Now it's like we've trained ourselves to be able to."

And for those who miss the connection of a handshake, Benning believes after a few months we could get back to normal.

"Individuals will see people getting back to normal and will probably have the same kinds of hunger for physical touch that is normal for human beings," he said. "Physical touch comforts us and provides us social support."

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One thing Benning emphasizes is that when it comes to returning to rituals like hand shaking or going out, it depends on personality, a person's health and risk of contamination, as well as a big factor- when a vaccine may come out that is easily accessible.

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