We isolated at home, sacrificed time with our friends and family, kept socially distanced in streets and remained masked up, but with vaccinations around the globe, some countries are beginning to 'unlock.'
Dubbed "Freedom Day," England has become one of the first places to ease all restrictions. Masks are now mostly optional, the two-meter rule has been dropped and there are no limits on the number of people gathering. But the world awaiting us is one almost unrecognizable when compared with the one we knew pre-pandemic.
So, what does the so-called "new normal" look like? Are we ready to brave the outdoors again? And which trends prompted by the pandemic will survive the test of time?
To discuss the anxiety surrounding the return to our old ways, The Agenda's Stephen Cole spoke to Nadia Svirydzenka, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at De Montford University and therapist Anjali Singh-Mitter, who specializes in helping children to be resilient when their parents are facing various stresses in life.
Nadia told The Agenda it is important for people to go through their own individual "unlocking" at a pace they're most comfortable with, while Anjali said, from her own experience, children seem to be coping with the ever-changing world of COVID-19 far better than adults.
Retail and brand expert Mark Pilkington explained how the pandemic has resulted in "10 years worth of development in just a few short months," with companies becoming more customer-focused and innovative.
Naturally, the online-shopping boom increased consumer convenience through features like digital dressing rooms, but Mark believes that as people can now attend events and have reasons to dress up there is still a hunger for a high street.
Nadia Pendleton, a former Duty Manager at Gordon Ramsay Holdings and a hospitality consultant of 17 years, joined Stephen to discuss which trends in the restaurant industry will stay and which will go.
Nadia believes some customers will still opt for having fresh boxed ingredients delivered to cook themselves at home, but most will want to be back in sociable spaces after saving money during lockdowns.
She also discussed the "absolute crisis" of staff shortages facing the sector and how hospitality is expected to make itself a more appealing workplace as the hospitality hiatus eases around Europe.