The effects of COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions on Melbourne are likely to continue being felt for a decade, according to one expert.

Demographer Bernard Salt told the Herald Sun that many things considered ‘normal’ prior to the pandemic are unlikely to return for as much as ten years.

According to Mr Salt, watching footy in packed stands at the MCG could still be a long way off, with the demographer predicting to see at least 15 per cent of fans at next year’s grand final to be sporting face masks.

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s famous foodie culture could see changes for years to come.

Eating on shared tables or in restaurants crammed with diners is unlikely to see a return any time soon, according to the demographer.

“Close tables at chic inner city cafes and restaurants will disappear; cafes will spread instead, onto the footpath and into laneways,” Mr Salt told the Herald Sun.

He went on to compare the lasting effects of the pandemic and lockdowns to the impact of the early-2000s drought and its accompanying water restrictions.

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When it comes to what we do in our spare time, Mr Salt predicted that Melburnians will be a fitter bunch for years to come, predicting that the regular, daily exercise could be here to stay in the long-term.

Coughing and sneezing is also likely to continue to be frowned upon for the near future, failing to cover your mouth could become akin to lighting up a cigarette at a restaurant in the 2010s.

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