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Physical Distancing and Public Spaces After the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, we cheer ourselves by thinking of future socializing in-person. We also think about returning to work or activities we love. These hopes help us through the challenges of physical distancing. Moreover, these challenges show us that we can be more flexible or more creative than we thought we could. For instance, structures and spaces have adapted to physical distancing requirements during the pandemic. Many of these adaptations are also practices that make spaces more accessible for citizens with disabilities. Governments are mandating new guidelines for how people arrange or move through buildings and other spaces. In the post-COVID-19 future, more people may recognize the value of adapting spaces to meet citizens’ diverse needs. Consequently, governments that approve designs for public spaces may think differently about physical distancing and public spaces after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physical Distancing and Public Spaces After the COVID-19 Pandemic

As spaces adapt to physical distancing requirements, their owners or managers are showing visitors how far apart people should be. For instance, essential businesses are placing markers so that people know how far apart to stand in lines. Alternatively, owners or managers of public spaces could adapt in ways that make their layouts more accessible to citizens with disabilities. For example, they could install fixed-queuing guides for line areas. These guides perform the same functions as markers painted on the floor. However, the guides may be more noticeable and harder for people to ignore as they move through spaces.

More Accessible Features for Public Spaces

People are becoming accustomed to new requirements governing the physical layout of businesses. In the same way, buildings and public spaces could adapt their premises in other ways to improve their accessibility. For instance, they could install:

These and other changes to physical environments make spaces accessible to more people.