Planet Money - The Old Rules Were Dumb Anyway

When the pandemic hit, the old rules went out the window. What rules will stay broken when things go back to normal?Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

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This is planet money from NPR.

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Okay. So this is like our go-to spot for hangovers or just going to say New Year's Day every year all yeah. Oh, yeah. That's my mom at our favorite Seafood spot Mariscos spot in San Diego with really just because we're kind of style weekly ad Street 2DS and cook dishwasher server bartender busser everything my mom Alicia the bus this family makes the best drinks for a hangover.

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Tamarindo Margarita. Comes from The Tamarind seed and we make it into a pace we put sugar on it rehmat with it's not spicy but it's like sweet chili powder and lime so good, but they're michelada is the real cure for me salted Rim lime ice cream, like a Mexican soy sauce, you like to call it and the beer you're going to get Mom. Okay. I'm going to have the the two Ceviche tostadas. Shrimp ceviche. Shrimp ceviche. Okay, would you like to drink till we're doing this to go? Okay. Yes, of course, we cannot do that. You can take your drinks to go your meat a lot of your wine to go with a few exceptions New Orleans or Vegas. This is kind of a new thing for the United States. We put it in a plastic cup and we seal it so you can take it. We recommend that you don't open it until you get home, California and a lot of other states have

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Something Told restaurants to help you out during the pandemic we're suspending the rules about taking cocktails off the premises we want you to make some money and this will help. I remember that I was like afraid at first because it's been like such a like you can't do that. You can't sell alcohol to go people can be outside. I like the door and drinking a beer because we can get in trouble but then like all of these restrictions that we had started like loosening drinks to go are things right now just for the pendant and Evers only God was like this is great until she had to start handing off cocktails to food delivery drivers in little plastic cups made me nervous was that they looked very very young and we were giving them like michelada Clamato is going to go and we started partying them. We were asking the doordash drivers for their

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Yes, but now getting a family in the margarita delivered to your door by a suspiciously young looking driver just seems totally normal another change drinking outdoors in normal times. There was this rule that if a restaurant wanted to serve a beer on the sidewalk, they had to build some kind of barrier. This is like another special permit and it's in its heart of business is too cuz they have to spend more money to do that stuff. Now everyone is outside though. You don't need a special permit to build a special fake fence out of flower pots or something like that. People are drinking margaritas everywhere rules have been broken.

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And it's not just drinking a bunch of things. We thought we had to do. We don't have to do them anymore. Like paying our student loan payments on time all of a sudden we don't have to pay them for the rest of the year. There's no interest no consequences that job your boss said you had to go to the office to do you don't have to go to the office to do it. Every day rules are going out the window and maybe some of the pre covid rules should stay broken.

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Hello and welcome to Planet Money. I'm Sarah Gonzales today on the show after the pandemic when things go back to normal in let's say January of 2022 too much. It seems so far away. It's not even wildly optimistic. What is life going to look like what rules are going to stay broken? Are we going to be just walking down the streets with our cocktails with our hands forever?

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Oh my gosh, I just such a good michelada with a great margarita.

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Linda Aiken is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the director of the Center for Health outcomes and policy research and you're you're like Pro rule-breaking your rule breaker the rules that I think deserve to be broken not all of them. Would you be like a nursing expert? Yes, and in health care Linda says they were lots of rules that were out there just begging to be broken. We have way too many rules in healthcare and they're not really in the consumers in and it's not just Linda who thinks this in March the federal government the US Secretary of Health and Human Services send a letter to Governor's basically saying please States break some of these Healthcare rules. Like there's this one that says nurses can't go work in another state super easily. If you are a nurse in New Jersey and you want to go be a nurse in New

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Just across the river you have to apply for a new license. You have to pay a fee wait, the processing time it could take months makes no sense because it's not like nurses have to take a new test or study some New York specific medical information every nurse no matter what state they're in they all take the same test take a national test. So it's not like the California nurse exam it is than the regular National exam guess because Healthcare, you know, we have the same technology and every state patients are the same name same problems. Everybody has babies everywhere. Linda says, this is such a silly rule that 34 states don't even follow it anymore. But big States like New York, California, they do have this wrong. So when covid-19 states were short nurses, they had to officially wave the role he had to come out and say out of state nurses. You can start working today.

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Please just come on over and Linda says when the world goes back to normal. These rules will probably stay broken. At least for the most part. It'll probably be much easier for nurses in one state to go work in another again. So nurse regulations. That's one big change another big one in healthcare Telehealth, you know, those like doctor visits by video chat. We've had the ability to do this for a while. The technology has been there Telehealth just never really took off. It was really thought of his something just for rural areas where they didn't have enough providers or maybe for the homebound elderly. It hasn't really been offered to you and me and the average person who didn't want to wait 6 months to get an appointment and he didn't want to take old day off of work to get to a specific place doctors were like, how do we even charge for a Telehealth visit with considered too tricky to even deal with but when the pandemic hit everyone was like, oh tell her how

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We can do that. We love to help please stay home do not come to her office with your deadly infectious disease. So they wanted to do it but there was this little frankly kind of ridiculous rule from Medicare and Medicaid about Billy doctors and nurses if they are going to see patients even by telemedicine they have to be in their office their doctor's office visit. Yes. If you're going to bill for a visit the service has to be provided from the address of record where you're located so you can't say you provided a visit to a patient if you're at your home and your PJs patient and isn't hydrogen and it had to be fixed fixing this little silly billing roll took an act of Congress in March as the pandemic was shutting down the country Congress had to come out and say yes a doctor's visit is still considered.

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Doctor's visit if the doctor is at home. This kind of visit is now available to Medicaid and Medicare and Linda says private interests tend to follow whatever Medicaid and Medicare does already everybody is FaceTiming their doctor and people are getting used to it. Lots of us have tried it and we like it and we want those rules to be permanent. Linda says after the pandemic, we're not going to want to take a day off of work pay for parking wait in the waiting room just to spend 5 minutes talking to the doctor and have them tell us everything is fine college sports.

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This one comes from an economist named Damon Jones. I'm an associate professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy love Stanford his alma mater. He was so into the football team that even after you got a job as a professor at the University of Chicago he kept doing whatever he could to get back to Stamford during football season. I'm booking talk to Stanford coincidentally on the same time when there's a home game, whatever it takes to feel like a monster hearing people talk about how College athletes are being exploited and Damon starts thinking more about the economics of student-athletes. We can call him so you can call him whatever you want. Let's cut to the chase. Their labor is being used to produce a product that is being sold at the biggest programs. The players are

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In football a majority-black in the South and their fan base is much more made up of white people parachuting be played for name on the key moment came in July of 2018. This is the straw that broke the camel's back today in Los Angeles where lots of football players were going to talk to reporters, but Stanford star player didn't go because he was going to summer school trying to get through his pre-med courses football star wanted to be a doctor and then people complained that this student-athlete didn't go talk to the reporters because he was going to class instead. I remember reading it in tweeting about it and may like this is just disgusting. I don't feel comfortable support in this I'm probably going to watch anymore and then you know, it's like once you say things out loud then you have to really

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You know, you can no longer pretend and so after that I stopped watching for real. I haven't watch the Stanford game since recently in California did pass a law saying that college athletes will be able to get some endorsement money, you know for like video games. So there has been some movement toward kind of paying student-athletes and things get more intense College athletes realize they might be risking their lives by playing this fall and here's where they mans prediction about. The future comes in about the rules. He says college players made think about the risks are taking and they may look at professional athletes who are represented by unions and negotiate for safety measures with their leagues and the college athletes may say we want that kind of bargaining power. Basically the way that it goes is it they say, we're not going to play they get everyone to agree.

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On a team or some unit to not play and then they forced the University or the NCAA to try to meet them at a table and negotiate their safety concerns might lead them to negotiate to get paid. So my prediction for January 1st 2022. I'm going to be bold and optimistic are okay NCAA college athletes.

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Are able to collectively bargain have Union representation like in other professional Level Sports and then like 3 days after we talked hundreds of athletes in the Pac-12 the league that includes Stamford issue that set of very Union like the man's about safety and racial Justice and getting a share of the revenue that their Sports generate getting. So it seems like the world is already starting to move in the direction to aim unpredicted. The Pac-12 has been postponed its football season, but some other college football leagues do still plan on playing this after the break something possibly good about working from home also math.

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Okay, so we are imagining it is the actor X the pandemic is gone. The world is back to whatever the world is back to your walking down a crowded Street while you're having a FaceTime visit with your doctor and you have a michelada in your hand. The question here is is anyone wearing a mask this one we can do pretty fast. How are you I talked about this with Jean Wang is a professor at MIT who's been thinking a lot about this and he says when he was a teenager in Beijing in the 70s people wear masks all the time. They did it whatever pollution got that. In other parts of Asia has been common for a long time for people to wear masks when they're sick to prevent spreading disease.

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You tell yourself out that's a normal thing to do by will it be normal in the US to like if you think you might have the flu but you have to go out. Will you maybe wear a mask? So you don't make other people sick during the flu season in all of that maybe in the future people say which is a testable hypothesis in January 20-22. Hopefully, I'll be back to work again. I'm taking the subway everyday for a week at rush hour. I will see at least one person wearing a mask. You're on board with that. I'm on board with that. I think normalizing mask-wearing is a huge part of this current situation. You tell yourself a thing to do.

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Okay, last one. We've heard a lot about working from home clearly. It has made work harder for a lot of people but it's also made it easier for some people like some people with disabilities who have a hard time getting into an office or just working and being in an office. I talked about this with Carol Glaser. She is the president of the National Organization on disability.

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Just need to let my son know Jacob. That's how I'm recording. Something is going to be on the radio so you can't be talkin out here. Okay?

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I have a young adult a child with disability as soon as they got a lot of activities going on on Zoom right now. Carol says people with disabilities have historically been underemployed before the pandemic only about 30% had a job and then when layoffs and furlough start of the spring, she says people with disabilities or among the first to get let go more than a million lost their job. So yes people with disabilities are losing their jobs at wages proportionate rates and an in comparison to the rest of the population, but there may be one good thing to come out of all of this before the pandemic Carol says employers would say all kinds of things about what a job entailed that kind of left people with disabilities out of the running. They would be like, oh no you can't do this job. But what exactly what they say all we need you to be in the office. We we need you to be interacting face-to-face with your colleagues.

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Our work depends on personal contact. So those were there. Yes. I've heard them again that you really need to be. You need to be in the office have to be able to look at each other in the I have to be able to be in each other's proximity. And so all of these things were some of the what we now know we're mammoths and some cases nobody ever challenge them and we never thought it was tried a new way and then this year lots and lots of companies did try it a new way. It's only had a lot of workers working from home. And in many cases companies realized it could work and so in many ways for people with disabilities, this is a welcome to my world situation cuz people with disabilities have indeed been saying for years that this job for that job could be done from home. Cal says now that companies have had some experience with working from home. They've seen it happen. They know it's possible. It didn't break their companies. Carol says a lot.

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Companies are no longer going to be able to say something like oh you need to be in an office to do this job. And the hope is that this would mean more jobs for people with disabilities.

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Turn off course many many changes in the world that we didn't talk about on Today Show. You can hear a few more ways. The world has changed on our sister show the indicator. They did an episode of few days ago talking about everything from cigarette smoking to energy use that episode is called five more ways life is changed. It was published on Wednesday. We're almost done with Planet Money summer school. You can still catch up and test yourself with the summer school final quiz, you pass it. You will get a real fake diploma. You can find the quiz and all the episodes at NPR. Org p.m. Summer school that's npr.org p.m. Summer school and intercept and it's the show your book thing. I do the true story of a made-up thing. It's like planet.

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A quick one hand shakes after all this stuff each are the Ruby that you shake somebody's hand that you don't know you don't shake anyone's hands ever. You think that's it forever forever. I think I'm going to take the other side of this one. I think they ain't fixing to come back like that. You know, like the head nod like hey, what's up man? Yeah chin lift to every call the Congress and like, you know, like a normal eyes, but the head nod handshake nightshades.

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I got a crick in my neck.
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