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What things do you want to see stick around after the pandemic's over?

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Carry-out food

Readers enjoy the ease of ordering food online and then having a restaurant worker simply deposit your food in your car.

The costs of the COVID-19 pandemic have been immeasurable. But as the state and the nation emerge from the trials of the last year, the Wisconsin State Journal asked readers which habits and practices we developed over the last year they’d like to see continue.

Here’s what some of you said:

“I love not having to wander around a store. For me, drive-up shopping really works.”

— Rose Halik

Child care at YMCA

We learned a lot about the importance of hand-washing early in the pandemic.

“Working from home can be good in so many ways: less traffic, air pollution, the stress of commuting. I know many people miss the social benefits of a workplace, but that can cut both ways. ... I would like people to continue to wash their hands more regularly and to refrain from shaking hands. We can avoid a lot of other infections (colds and influenza in particular).”

— Steve Hoffenberg

“Companies giving paid sick days. It protects everyone when sick people aren’t at work.”

— Bridget Rolek

COVID school

Working from home appears to have increased employee productivity and satisfaction — if it's also blurred the lines between home and work.

“Curbside pickup helps keep the immune-compromised safe, gives the disabled a more efficient way to shop and even enables harried mothers with small children ease in shopping. Asian nations have normalized mask-wearing for decades before the pandemic — not for personal safety but, when an individual has a cold or other virus, they have long understood protecting others in the community also protects themselves.”

— Judith Detert-Moriarty

“Continuing the ability for many employees to work from home. If employees were flourishing and maintaining the quality required while working from home during the pandemic, there should be little reason for change as we return closer to normal. This system has favorable effects for both the employees and the employer, with less costs associated with in-house operations, and less pressure for the worker. Employers are profiting by having employees who are more productive and less stressed, and employees are profiting by experiencing more job satisfaction and feeling less time-weary.”

— Kathi Schlender-Adams

Wearing masks

A largely foreign concept in the U.S. before the pandemic, the custom of wearing a mask to protect others when you're sick might remain.

“I’d love to see mask wearing become more common when someone is sick. Since so many workplaces discourage taking sick days, I know that I’d stand a chance of staying healthier longer, since I’m especially susceptible to catching many of the illnesses that people tend to come to work with anyway. Curbside service for food is certainly very convenient as well, and is a wonderful option to have from many places that didn’t offer a ‘to go’ option at all previously. Though it’ll never replace live concerts and plays, some of the additional options to see art have been great. And finally, I feel like many people have shown more kindness to front-line workers during this time, and I hope that continues after too.”

— Tim Jahr

“Grocery delivery. I’ve found out exactly what is available at my store. There were some items they carried that I was never able to find before.”

— Barbara Manson

“Masks rock, I love not having a cold or flu every couple of weeks all winter long.”

— Kelly Thompson

Showing appreciation

We developed a new appreciation for front-line workers, honored in countless windows with heart-shaped cutouts. 

“I’d like to see masks more normalized. There were many people with health conditions needing them who were often marginalized and ridiculed. While not everyone has to wear them, obviously, they are useful in certain situations such as cold season (for both cold sufferers and those trying to avoid colds), allergy season, and pollutants.”

— Haven McClure

“I hope embracing the outdoors stays. Restaurant outdoor dining has been fantastic, as are picnics and fire pits in the winter.”

— Laura M. Dill

“Online meetings. When the weather is bad or dangerous, we can always fall back on this option and it will save lives.”

— Amanda A. Peterson

“Surprise porch drop-offs with treats for neighbors and friends.”

— Danielle Schelling


Outdoor dining, always popular in warmer months, has become a three-season affair. 

“Doing errands on only one day a week. No more running all over the place every single day I’m not at work. I like not feeling obligated to go to gatherings or hang with large groups of people. Ordering things online from big-box stores and not going into those places. It’s more efficient to buy only what I need.”

— Kim Lewis

“Working from home and people staying ... away from me and not breathing all over me.”

— Dean Anderson

“Discovering the pure joy of the outdoors — explorations on ice-covered lakes, adventures on our city’s parkland trails, making music on a front porch, grilling out, studying on rooftops. The sheer number of people emerging from the seclusion of their homes, stepping out and animating their neighborhood has dramatically changed the urban landscape — hopefully for a long time to come.”

— Susanne Voeltz

Social distancing

Some of us found we liked having others keep their distance from us.

“Zoom livestream lectures, concerts and fundraisers. It makes these events much more accessible, even if there is a registration fee.”

— Debra Drewek

“The Streateries. Evenings in the King/South Pinckney/East Main street area have a pretty cool vibe and are vibrant especially now.”

— Barry Wood

“We’re no longer going to blow out birthday candles on the cake shared by all.”

— Cassondra Gray Shumway

“Keep the 6-foot social distance. Nothing is more disturbing and disrespectful than someone breathing down your neck while you’re waiting to check out in the store.”

— Ryan Thornton

“We’ve discovered many positive aspects: Working remotely, slowing down and noticing what’s truly important in life, being more respectful toward others, virtual learning as an option, etc.”

— Becky Ebbott


The great outdoors beckoned like never before during the pandemic. It's allure continues.

“I think an attitude of gratitude also needs to continue. All those service workers and essential employees we rely upon became more visible. Maybe if we all remembered to value their work they’d be better compensated for it.”

— Meg Heitz

“Working from home, masks in public, and curbside pickup. And continue focusing on the importance of indoor air quality.”

— Paul Alexander Harris

“The livestreaming of high school sporting events.”

— Nicole Northrop Simpson

“None of it!”

— Milton Smith


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