The impact of COVID-19 is still unfolding.

After this we will never take our health, our lives and our homes for granted ever again.

There are many people working at the frontline in hugely difficult circumstances.

The rest of us have been asked just to ‘stay at home’.

And stay safe.

Every one of us is now coping with and adjusting to a new and strange life at home. 

We must keep a distance from other people.

So we now have to think about space in a way we never did before.

To protect ourselves and others we can no longer see our extended family face to face.

We are told this imposed self-isolation is what will see us all through the worst of Covid-19.

The news is full of the dangers of the virus.

Inside our homes we are safe.

Our home is now a sanctuary.

A prison.

Or something in between.

Home is the one place where we have control.

When we keep people out, we can protect everyone inside.

COVID-19 has turned us all into germaphobes.

At home we impose special measures maximising hand-washing and cleansing routines.

The government tells us: ‘we are all in this together’.

But we are not all experiencing this in the same way. 

The reality is we live in very different places and spaces. Some homes have access to space outside ( garden, balcony) and some do not.

In the UK, during lockdown it was the sunniest spring ever recorded. Our access to outside of our homes was restricted to food shopping or to exercise once a day.

Being able to go outside of our home was what made living inside bearable.

Our relationship with all the things we normally take for granted has changed.

COVID-19 distance sign for cars

The pandemic is affecting everyone, everywhere, right across the world.

Globally, people are in either in lockdown, self-distancing or in isolation.

Every country is approaching the containment of COVID-19 very differently.

In the midst of all this we have a new-found respect and admiration for key workers: supermarket staff, care-workers, nurses, drivers, teachers.

There is now a deeper level of recognition and appreciation for people  who are not the very rich, and not the very famous.

In these frightening time they are the people on whom we rely. Because they are the ones doing the jobs that keeps everything moving.

We are all adjusting to daily life with new spatial codes, protocols and interactions based on imposed social distancing.

It’s them, and us….

and everything they touch, everywhere they go, and everyone with whom they have contact. 

We are led by our governments, who are led  by science.

So, we do what we are told and we adapt and adjust to home-working, home-schooling and all the rest.

We have no choice.

COVID-19 sign. Painted Arrow pointed at man

Things will get better. 

And things will change. 

Until then, with nowhere to go and no-one to meet and our normal activities curtailed, we entertain ourselves at home with Netflix, I-Player and Zoom quizzes. 

On the plus side: there is no Fear Of Missing Out.

Because no-one else is allowed to socialise, go on holiday, to the theatre or out for dinner.

Through all this some people are finding a new level of contentment because they are longer rushing about – here, there and everywhere.

They have a new-found inner-peace and appreciation for everything we normally take for granted in a life we used to live.

But, because we don’t go anywhere, now we find we have nothing to talk about.

We have no news – apart from what is in “The News”.

We now find ourselves using words we never used before: cocooning, contact tracing, travel corridors, coronavirus bubbles, lockdown, PPE and second waves.

2m painted COVID sign

This ‘new normal’ under COVID-19 is a negotiation of space through one-way queueing systems and social-distancing.

We stand on yellow stickers, join long queues, stand well back from counters and talk to people through a sheet of perspex – while wearing a mask.

And that’s how it is..

And so all the stories from Anyone At Home from 2020  will be a glimpse of everyday lives and experiences from these strange and worrying times.

These are the things that matter to us right now.

As people adjust physically, psychologically and emotionally to this new way of being we can see more clearly how that is framed by local culture, space and politics.

We also begin to see how COVID-19 lockdown disrupts, shakes up and shatters our life-plans.

What we are all going through right now will stay with us for a very long time.

It is only with the benefit of hindsight that the longterm effects of this experience will become known.

Nuala Rooney

I am designer, educator and researcher developing creative and holistic human-centred insights within the social/spatial sphere.

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