COVID-19 may mean end to brick-and-mortar offices and stores, experts foresee

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- What will the future of cities look like after the COVID-19 pandemic?

The virus could impact communities for years to come, according to experts at Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

Institute Director William Fulton held a discussion on Friday where he stressed cities will continue to play an important role in society and will adapt to the changes.

We should expect more people to work remotely, he said.

Office spaces will empty as a result. Retailers will close their brick and mortar stores as business shifts online.

Fulton said people will solve their issues with design. He predicted downtown areas will transform into diverse activity centers as people will still desire to live close to one another.

"I do believe eventually restaurants and bars will come back," said Fulton. "They'll be stronger than ever especially as more people work from home. They're going to want (to) find places to get out there."

Meagan Clanahan with Houston Moms Blog is a mother to 10-year-old twins in Katy. She said she wants things to go back to normal as soon as it is safe.

"I'm used to having 7 to 8 hours by myself to be able to get my job done," said Clanahan. "It's been a lot of together time. I love my family, but there's that moment where it is really hard for me to concentrate when I have 'Jessie' or Nickelodeon in the background."

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