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We are two days away from the end of Lockdown 3.0. Whether the 54-day safety drill will finally end with several conditions in place or be extended is anyone’s guess. Some nations have taken the plunge and opened up corners long closed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. As the coronavirus curves flattened in these countries, the leaders decided to reboot their economies and give people a sense of hope. Their message is clear: the next phase is not about returning to normality; it’s about learning to live with the virus.

Mint spoke to people in cities where life has started picking up pace post lockdown. Here’s a glimpse of the future that might soon become our present. Edited excerpts:

‘We’ve forgotten distancing’

Valeria Connatelli, 34


The first thing I did on 2 May (the day the lockdown was partially lifted) was walk to the Mediterranean sea and smell the flowers on the way. Everything looked extra beautiful that day. But to be honest, it’s a strange world right now. Spain suffered one of Europe’s worst outbreaks, but people are out now for their jogs, walking dogs, playing games in the park. Most of them are not wearing masks; even I have to buy a mask. And we have already forgotten about social distancing. It’s like people are happy and they trying to go back to the world they left before coronavirus.

‘It’s as if I’m on a movie set’

Vanny Hoch, 29


When I stepped out after more than a month, everything looked different. Right now, it feels as if I’m on a movie set and something really bad has happened and now we are all coming out to take care of our city. I do feel insecure though because you don’t know who might be carrying the virus. People are not taking enough care. There are long queues outside stores for clothes and groceries—no social distancing, no masks, no gloves. It’s very dangerous right now, may be a second wave might come. But I don’t understand how people can forget the virus so quickly.

‘We are in a cage right now, too’

Tony Chiu, 48


After more than 100 days inside, the first thing I did was have drinks with friends. Everyone was so happy. But we are in a cage right now too. Like when I catch a taxi, I have to show documents showing my health details. When I arrive somewhere, a masked person checks my temperature. We have to carry paperwork everywhere. Physical contact is a no-no; we just smile at each other, but since we are wearing masks, nobody can see that so we just nod. Otherwise, it’s the same in a way that there’s traffic on the road, people are going to work, for walks. But then, it doesn’t feel the same.

‘It will never be normal again’

Giorgio Santangelo, 29


For Italians, it’s very weird to not kiss, hug or touch anyone while talking to them or greeting them. It’s our culture. But now, we have to maintain two-metre distance from each other and wear masks at all times. When the lockdown was partially lifted, I was actually very confused. Italy is among the worst affected countries by the coronavirus, and people are getting out of the house for the smallest of reasons. They are so happy they are able to step out, go to restaurants, bars. They think it’s getting normal, but I don’t think it will ever be normal. What if the virus strikes again?

‘Namaste is the new greeting’

Samik Mukherjee, 43


We didn’t see many coronavirus cases so there was no lockdown as such but the government is insisting on following precautionary measures. By mid-March itself, namaste became a rage. It was a little odd for me initially because you don’t expect people who greet each other with hugs or kisses, to suddenly fold hands. It was strange. And yes, there’s a lot of use of sanitizers, so much that initially shops had run out of them. People are also not stepping out so much. We are working from home. Shops and markets are open, but the city is mostly deserted.

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