What is the new normal after ECQ?

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The moment enhanced community quarantine started, all we ever wanted is to go back to our pre-pandemic “normal life”. Yet the changes brought by this pandemic is not likely to fade soon, giving way to the new normal life.

Admit it or not, you miss the hustle and bustle of the city. Somehow, I do too.

What is the definition of new normal?

New normal refers to the newly established conditions following a crisis. In general, it implies that something which used to be not normal has become a commonplace.

What to expect in the new normal?

Welcome to the new normal life.

Whatever quarantine protocol you are in now, there are certain rules and guidelines set in place to prevent coronavirus from spreading further. Lifting of the enhanced community quarantine doesn’t mean that we can all go back to our old normal ways.

Strict implementation of social distancing will continue to be the protocol, especially in public transportation, public markets, business establishments, and other public areas. According to business world, there will be new set of norms to expect post ECQ.

Related article: List of Things-to-Do After Quarantine

Health protocols

What was practiced and encouraged during ECQ such as social distancing, cough etiquette, frequent hand washing and maintaining good hygiene is still to be continued after lifting ECQ. Young people, senior citizens, pregnant women and those identified as susceptible to the virus should stay at home.

Wearing of face masks outdoors is now part of the new normal situation. This is regardless of the type of community quarantine protocol in place.

Business as usual?

WHO says there is no coming to the business as usual following the coronavirus pandemic.

This crisis has forced the business communities to operate with limited workforce and resources. On the other hand, we are now leaning more towards the digital world like having meetings via Microsoft teams, Skype, Zoom and other digital platforms. Personally, I would say that this works quite well, but of course it depends on the nature of your work.

New normal is more like MGCQ (modified general community quarantine). Business establishments will be allowed to operate, in phases, but operating guidelines will be imposed.

Modified working scheme or the work-from-home arrangement is encouraged for private sectors to limit the risk of spread of the virus.

Transportation protocols

Some public transport modes will operate following certain conditions like reduced capacity. Expect 3-4 hours extended queueing time versus the usual 1-2 hours in MRT/LRT during rush hours. This means that you have to leave your house earlier and expect to go home late.

Social customs

You can forget about the usual beso-beso with your amigas as well as handshake with your business colleagues as this will not be part of the new normal, for the meantime. A simple hi, hello, wave and finger heart will replace these customary greetings. Government will only allow gatherings to certain number of attendees depending on the capacity of the venue. We still need to observe social distancing.

Education system

We expect that education system would switch to online technology and digital tools, the question is, are we ready for this? It would be easier for private schools to upgrade to this system, however, it would mean additional expenses for us parents.

I agree that learning should never stop despite the pandemic. The system has to evolve in order to adapt to the changes brought by this crisis. Educators need to find ways to take the teaching method beyond the traditional classroom set-up.

We still have few months before the start of the classes, take this chance to home school your kids. Globe E-Library project initiated by Globe might be of help. It is a collection of free local and international public domain e-books ranging from classic storybooks and novels for K-12 learners curated by DepEd.

It will be challenging to adapt to this new learning system but there’s no other way. We cannot compromise the health and safety of our children.

A more specific guideline will for sure be issued. LGUs must establish policies to guarantee effective implementation of the new normal. What is clear is that it will never be the same as before. We cannot live the lives we left behind.

We all have to take part in this fight to defeat covid 19.  Until we find the vaccine to protect us from this virus – the battle against covid-19 is far from over.

Ailen Tomas
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