The experts are busy these days trying to figure out where our pandemic-shocked economy is headed next, but their forecasts are running into some unique problems.
One, clearly, is the difficulty of predicting COVID-19 outbreaks. But another huge wild card is what people will actually do when the lockdowns are lifted. Will they be confident enough to return to offices, ride public transport, eat in restaurants, travel to foreign countries on vacation?
The answer seems to be … not really. The polling shows a vast majority of people in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. are hesitant to engage in many of the major activities that compose daily life, from going to work or school to eating in restaurants and attending large gatherings.
Watch: Many won’t return to gyms or restaurants despite lockdowns being eased. Story continues below.
Even as the economy reopens, “a quiet nervousness will give the economy a collective pause, and people everywhere will focus anew on income security and health security,” wrote John Stackhouse, a senior vice-president at Royal Bank of Canada, in a report issued Friday.
“This new age of insecurity will do more than pervade the Canadian psyche.