Guide to New Normal
In the Philippines, Manila being the epicenter of the global pandemic will self-build a habit towards the road to new normal. A perspective of how we live, until the Covid-19 vaccine is made available.
As we await the official comprehensive guidebook from the national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID). Local government units (LGU) and private business sectors, by now should have these guidelines and aggressively disseminate the multi-sectoral information on what to expect once the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is lifted.
How do we embrace the new normal? Do we have protocols? General Community Quarantine (GCQ) could trigger the 2nd wave effect of the dreaded COVID-19. Affected people have reached the 15M mark globally as of this reading.
Given that we will deal with the virus every day until a vaccine is made available, how is public health safety guaranteed? During the GCQ, a newer preventive measure should be in place to avoid bigger risks of community outbreak. Agreeing to relax the lockdown means we already have the safety precautions and exit plan in order to control the disease over ill-protected public areas such as flea markets, work places, and public transportations. The working community will soon go back to their jobs, how are we assured of our safety? Not contracting the disease?
Things to do with the new normal – Post ECQ
House bill(s) seek to provide a “whole-of-society”
Cited in March 2020, both the Senate and Congress proposed house bills that covers the integral aspect of the emergency crisis. It includes:
- Anti-Spitting Act of 2020, which seeks to ban and penalize spitting, coughing and sneezing in public.
- A New Normal Law is being pushed that will establish social distancing and health and hygiene protocols.
- For the working professionals, a proposed House Bill 6623 or the “New Normal for the Workplace and Public Spaces Act of 2020” aims to set standards and protocols to be adopted for the years to come.
The local communities are already exercising this new normal habit though House Bills are not yet turned into laws.
How to prevent COVID-19 before it attacks your body.
“The most important implication of the breakneck changes currently under way, though, is that there’s no going back to normality. That train has left the station. The coronavirus isn’t going away. And even when there is a vaccine, the risk will endure,” (J. Naughton, 2020)
Face mask. The country will impose or recommend wearing a mask in public places and office spaces. Wearing gloves should be normal from now on. Please wear your face mask properly, you’re not a kid that needs to be reminded repeatedly. Some wear their masks, but tend to lower them exposing their nose. “Nag mask ka pa.” Don’t touch your nose, mouth, and eyes with unwashed hands. When removing your mask, wash your hands first before disposing or washing the mask.
For commuting workers, it is highly advised to bring at least 2 masks, one for commuting and the other for internal office use. Meaning once you arrive at your office, you must wash the dirty mask and let it dry in a safe place to avoid contamination. Use the extra mask within the office premises. Upon office dismissal, use the one you wash for going home. If you are to re-use the one you use within the office, try to store it in a plastic or zip lock bag and then wash all the masks when you return home.
Facial shield. In case you do not have a face shield, you may use a reading glass or goggles (used in Science lab), they are light, cheap and easy to wash/disinfect. Food gloves can also be used as an alternative to industrial and medical gloves.
Wash hands. Before and after every activity, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, “’wag ninyo kilitiin ang pag hugas parang pinadaanan lang.” Funny that it’s 2020, and yet we educate people – the adults particularly – how to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly.
Wash everything from outside. Disinfect and clean frequently touching objects. All the things you brought from outside should undergo washing/disinfecting. From head to toes. From shopping items to purses (with dirty money). Leave them ALL outside. Clean them one at a time. Then after cleaning/disinfecting your things, go straight to the bathroom, take a full bath and wash or soak your clothes after. READ: Here is the rundown of the steps to do when entering your home in the time of COVID-19: What to do when going out and things to remember when you’re out for errands.
Foot bath. Leave your errand or dirty shoes outside. Always a good habit then and now. Every time you go out of the house, you have to dip your shoes in a foot bath. On a personal note, I give extra care for the sole of my shoes. Sneakers should not be exposed to harsh ingredients. What do we do about this? I can’t allow my branded pair to have it dip in a chlorine solution. Before this pandemic, it’s been a habit at home to remove the shoes at the front of the main door. We NEVER let dirty shoes or slippers IN. We bathe/wipe our shoes under water, making sure the inside won’t get wet. We even brush the sole (with a used toothbrush and mild soap for branded sneakers, but for ordinary sneakers, detergent bar or powder will do). Then we wipe it with wet tissue (again for branded ones), for ordinary sneakers, a wet rug sprayed with a chlorine solution. Also, Install a shoe sanitizing stride mat.
Practice good hygiene. Avoid spitting and coughing in public places. Always bring handkerchief and disposable tissue to protect yourself and to protect others.
Public spitting. Public commuters, please avoid the urge to spit and sneeze (dumura at suminga), they sneeze with their hands, then wipe onto their clothes.
Social distancing. Practice physical distancing on all major spaces, at least one meter apart. Please be reminded, give each other space. Pretty sure, after the quarantine, public will again act the way they please, the rascal way. “Please ‘wag kayong dugyot, kaya kayo nasasabihan na mukhang squatter.”
At work, employees will be asked to respect the distancing rule. Work from home (for those who can do their jobs from home), tele-conferencing or video-conferencing will continue for the foreseeable future.
Home quarantine pass and essentials (ID). Always bring your Barangay-issued travel pass. Follow the window hours as stated by your community regulation. Quezon City is implementing a color coding (odd-even schedule) to replenish your grocery and do errands.
Public commuting. Many will opt to walk, use scooters, bicycles or even cars instead of public transport for work or short travels. Protect yourself and your things from contracting the disease.
Disinfectant Tent. In your workplace, public establishments, or any public spaces, install a mobile sanitation booth and a foot bath before entering the premises. Sanitation spot or corner or in every office entrance should also be available with an alcohol dispenser.
Bring plastic. For working people, I was thinking I need to adopt this habit (for now). This targets the commuting public workers, to place my bag inside a plastic bag every time we commute. Upon arriving, sanitize your things before using them. Wash the plastic and hang them to dry, so you can use it once you’re off to work. When you get home, you do the process again (wash and dry.)
Bow heads. Learn to bow your heads when greeting or acknowledging people, in the same manner as Japanese and Korean do. AVOID handshakes, hugs and kisses (beso-beso), hand blessing (mano), and any other physical contact. Aside from bowing, we have the option to wave our hands, nod our heads, hold hands together (and bow).
Work from home. Employees will be asked to respect the distancing rule. Work from home (for those who can do their jobs from home), tele-conferencing or video-conferencing will continue for the foreseeable future. Offices that do not require physical attendance should practice WFH. This is the same way freelancers have been doing years ago. Report to office during meetings (or even virtual meetings) or submission (submission) can also be done digitally.
Limit time in public places. Avoid crowded places, mass gatherings, and limit your visit to the supermarkets, groceries, and shopping malls. Be more budget conscious. List down your shopping list for two weeks. This will save you money, time and exposure to air borne diseases.
Stay home. During the first sign of any form of illness, STAY HOME when you are sick. (Please lang ‘wag na kayo manghawa pa sa iba.” What is right and what you SHOULD DO right.
Avoid contact with sick people. Always cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing. Go home when you feel sick.
Tele-medicine. Avail the digital health consultation for general medical check-up and non-urgent cases. While for Covid-19 symptoms contact the DOH hotline immediately.
These are the essential guidelines presented in infographics for the public on how to adjust to “new normal” practices as we go through our daily routine.
Naughton, J. (2020, April 18). Retrieve May 3, 2020, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/18/when-covid-19-has-done-with-us-what-will-be-the-new-normal
Philippine Information Agency (PIA)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Department of Health (DOH)
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)
Official Gazette: https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/section/laws/
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