What is Covid-19? Well, you are right; technically it is a respiratory disease. Then, the question is why does it seem to affect all aspects of our lives and not only our health? It has been more than two months since the identification of the first Coronavirus case in Iran, now. And much to our surprise, it has led to a completely different lifestyle among Iranians. Asking how? Stay with us in this article to know how Coronavirus is affecting social life in Iran.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in Iran, all social activities have been extensively affected ranging from a simple greeting to socializing with friends, colleagues, and relatives, inviting them over, or hanging out with them. What makes the issue even harder for Iranians, was the beginning of the new year about a month ago. The last days of the past year were totally different, the empty streets displayed no clue of the beginning of the New Year and Coronavirus affected Nowruz in Iran, too.
It is among our rituals to pay a visit to relatives by the beginning of the Persian new year, but this year, the isolation experience kept us away from others. Iranians turned to video calls to say “Happy New Year” to their parents and grandparents. Well, for us, known for being warm-hearted and hospitable, this was like torture! And it is still to be continued.
Living in an Islamic country involves lots of public gatherings. To deal with religious rituals, Iranians (the believers) participate in a public prayer every Friday and it’s now been over two months that the Muslims have been banned from this religious ritual. Also, all other religious places have been closed to prevent the spread of the disease. Now, with the beginning of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, the situation has been more highlighted since there would be no physical events during Ramadan in Iran this year.
Iranians love shopping! Especially before the New Year, streets, shopping centers, and bazaars would be jam-packed with people. Even during ordinary days, you can see lots of people shopping around. But the outbreak of the pandemic has led to a completely different situation this year; Iranians have stuck to online shopping more than ever, even for groceries! And it may be interesting to know that, being a rich country in oil and gas, the delivery system works quite efficiently here and bringing all the household stuff at the door within or less than an hour would cost nearly nothing here! This is among the positive changes that we wish would last even after the pandemic.
According to the statistics, traveling among Iranians have been a decline by up to 71%. The percent is really remarkable considering the two-week holiday of the New Year in Iran! Domestic travels during spring is a part of many Iranians’ lifestyle which is now changing and there is no perspective of how long the situation would last.
Many tourism and hospitality companies have been affected by the pandemic which is now being supported by the government.
The good news is that, instead, virtual tours have become a trend and many Iranians spend hours on their computers to experience virtual tours.
Schools and universities are being closed for about 70 days, but not the education! Nearly all schools, universities, and educational institutions have been switching to online courses. And since the next semester may not be different from this one, they are now working on solutions for online exams too. It would appear that the Coronavirus has the potential to make online education go viral and who knows, maybe future generations are going to benefit more from virtual learning.
Much like education, many companies including Iran Doostan, have asked their employees to work from home in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Although social media and video conferences have made communications convenient, the drawbacks of this social distancing from colleagues can not be ignored.
However, let us not mention those businesses which have been shut down due to the crisis. The bad news is inevitable in this situation, but to be optimistic, we can consider how Iranians have turned to digital platforms in their everyday life and many would tend to stick to it even after the pandemic. There seems to be a great potential for developing more online businesses after the situation goes back to normal in Iran. Online businesses could easily take the lead in the near future. This can be taken into considerations by Iranian entrepreneurs and also the government.
Many services such as beauty salons, restaurants and coffee shops, hotels, non-emergency medical services, and even shopping centers have been banned from working in the past two months. This has caused great financial problems in many peoples’ lives and in the long term, it is going to affect the economy just as it does to many other countries. It would appear that the extraordinary circumstance needs international measures and “large-scale solutions”.
And finally, Lifestyle
Overall, the above-mentioned facts are well reprehensive of the Iranians’ lifestyle these days and explain clearly how Coronavirus is affecting social life in Iran! The 65% rise in watching online movies and series, 107 million download of mobile games and a sevenfold increase in reading digital books, is definitely sending us a message; we are at a turning point and our life is going digital more than ever before! And, opportunities are calling us!
There are new trends for social and economic experts to investigate the positive and negative effects of the issue on social life in Iran.