Muscat: A study found that one of the social changes that may occur in Omani society after the COVID-19 pandemic is that society will give up social distancing but may maintain some healthy habits, such as wearing masks and sterilising hands.
A paper titled “The Mechanisms Produced by Omani Society to Deal With COVID-19 Pandemic” by the researcher Mubarak Al Hamadani has been published by the Gulf Studies Centre. The paper examines cognitively the community-based management of the pandemic.
The study surveyed a random sample of 536 individuals, and one of the questions was ‘to what extent do you see the possibility of the next ten social changes occurring in Omani society’.
According to the study, the majority of the respondents said that the pandemic will change the consumption pattern of community members and will rearrange their consumption priorities, especially luxuries, and more than 40 per cent of the respondents said that families and individuals will tend to save to ensure economic safety in times of crisis.
Most notably the study found that the majority felt that family gatherings will return to their normal state after the pandemic.
“Over 80 per cent said they expect that individuals will return to intimate and direct communication after the end of the epidemic, such as shaking hands and hugging, and more than 70 per cent responded that the culture of social distancing will fade away, and more than 50 per cent said that community members would not reduce their attendance at social events and public gatherings, while about 20 per cent said that their attendance will be limited to family occasions only,” the study also revealed.
Al Hamadani said, “It can be said that the epidemic has been able to produce a range of phenomena, including the flourishing of digital life, as members of society have become active in formal and informal activities far from work and study sites in meetings, dialogues, discussions and cultural events.
Social events, knowledge and applications in this context have flourished during the quarantine period also.” The researcher explained, “The Omani society does not show a trend towards the occurrence of radical changes at the level of culture and community behaviour after the pandemic, as the strength of social ties are the basic elements determining the relative health of society.”
On the other hand, more than 60 per cent confirmed that community members will be looking forward to the opportunities provided by the home quarantine period, such as digital training sessions and cultural sessions.