Confined, anxious, resigned, ankylosed, the French are waiting as much as they are dreading next May 11, the announced date of deconfinement. These 8 weeks of forced isolation were not experienced and felt in the same way by everyone. But there is one thing we all share: the desire to live, to go out and get the economy moving again. Switch from "pause" to "play" as soon as possible before it's too late.
This month of May opens with a profoundly changed relationship between individuals. Now masked, distanced from each other by the meter established by the rules of social distancing. Deprived of freedom of movement and physical encounters. A month of May, in short, marked by the imperatives of protecting public health from Covid-19. This crisis, in France as in the rest of the world, will have a before and an after.
From a social point of view, the confinement created a pressure mixed with collective anxiety and individual fears. Both on our own finitude and on the economic future of our country. It is today in a world on the verge of implosion that we will have to relearn to live under the regime of "social distancing". The gradual deconfliction that is taking place day by day in most countries of the world could revive protest movements - even rebellion - particularly on the part of the poorest who will have suffered the most from the isolation and the economic crisis that is taking hold. In a society where the acceptance of risk (medical, financial, material) is decreasing, the cohabitation with the virus is worrying because it induces real upheavals in our lifestyles.
Back at the office or at school where the health injunction imposes "social distancing", masks, gels and other barrier gestures, how can we find our colleagues and friends, show them our affection or our benevolence? A handshake, two kisses to greet each other, a hug or a pat on the shoulder, so many gestures of conviviality that are so deeply rooted in our Latin temperament that it seems impossible to forget them. Are we going to become Asians who no longer touch each other? Building, with hygienism, a kingdom of mistrust between people, who will see each other as potential plague victims? Unfortunately, this is what awaits us in the coming weeks.
By itself, the mask seems to symbolize the world after Covid-19. This accessory formerly dedicated to the medical professions has suddenly burst into our daily lives and may become indispensable. How can we integrate it into our lives, when we barely know how to wear it? Will personalizing this piece of fabric be the way to make it more acceptable to us? From a protective barrier for security, it would then become a mark of our identity, displaying our tastes, our colors and even our values that we could wear even in places of celebration. Clothing manufacturers have already sniffed out the opportunity by integrating the brands as the new "summer" accessory in their collection. They are adapted to the age, the fashion trends, and the desires of the consumers.
Agile by obligation and resilient by conviction, SMEs like CEPOVETT Group have converted their production lines to produce alternative fabric masksor the pastry cream manufacturer Agrodoubs which, in the space of 4 weeks, changed its production tool to manufacture hydro-alcoholic gel and save its jobs. When the loss of a core business is overtaken by the war economy. The restaurant industry still has a few weeks to reinvent itself: to provide a takeaway service and, why not, the Chef who will invite himself to our home to cook with friends."Tomorrow we'll be consuming - like in restaurants - at home."
And for good reason: our individual travel is now limited to a perimeter of 100 km. Without much surprise, the summer promises to be confined and tourism will remain Franco-French, relegating our desire to escape to a later date. The journey is at the end of the road. While this is an optimistic forecast for the French hotel industry, we still need to ensure that a second episode of confinement does not dampen our hopes. And if it were to happen, how many of us could still handle it? Individuals and companies, same battle. What's more, for the most fragile.
These inequalities will be the breeding ground for future social conflicts if the government does not rise to the challenge of deconfinement. Because whether one lives in a low-income housing project or has a garden, the deprivation of freedom in the name of health will not have the same impact. The French for whom confinement rhymes with deterioration of vital needs, loss of employment and income, and sometimes family conflicts are in resistance, not yet in resilience. How to live better on probation? One of the answers can be found in the emergence of the recent phenomenon of third places. Islands of resilience, anchored in the heart of the territories to live the next quarantines, forced or desired, to cut themselves off from the world, in total autonomy. New bridges, between cities and rural areas, often far from large urban centers. They develop decentralized activities, shared and useful to the community: co-working, micro-farming, know-how of excellence, sustainable housing... A counterpoint to our ultra-active and concentrated urban society.
Because of the virtual, we have never talked so much about it. From telecommuting to Netflix, screens have invaded our lives. Zoom and Skype are sneaking into the daily lives of confined employees, WhatApp has introduced the concept of remote aperitifs and multi-party communications between friends and family. All these digital tools have allowed us to maintain, while reinventing, the physical link... Until when? If drinking, laughing and eating through screens break, for a while, our solitude, once the smartphone or the computer is turned off, what is left? Virtuality has certainly created new ecosystems of long-distance relationships (dating sites, online games...) but will the social cement of our community survive these artifacts?
Perhaps and without doubt, at first we will have little choice. So we will have to reinvent the social link. This will most certainly involve a renewed instinct for self-preservation, calling on us to refocus on our close circles of family and friends, where trust will be a guarantee of security. In this sense, the relationship between seniors and our children, two populations that the Covid-19 has pushed aside and isolated, is an axis to cultivate for an intergenerational transmission. Because if, during this health crisis, our elders were the most affected and sometimes died alone because their loved ones were unable to travel to their side, they are the memory of life post-Covid-19 and already embody the wisdom of our present and future.
As we know, many things will have to change as of this month of May. In our actions, our individual and collective behaviors, our regard for others and our commitment to preserving lives to avoid re-confinement. But the principle of protection cannot be achieved at any cost. And especially not that of an insurmountable economic catastrophe for future generations. Let's not sacrifice our freedom in the name of a new health obsession. Because keeping your health by giving up your life makes no sense. For this reason, on May 11, let us celebrate with dignity the living and the living by reaffirming our freedoms. It would be salutary to collectively renounce our dream of omnipotence in the face of death.