Since the outbreak rattled the world from early January to March 2020, governments from all countries have implemented drastic measures to contain the coronavirus. These include large-scale social restrictions, travel bans, community quarantines, and even full lockdowns.
Many individuals began to live in a transition period where most struggled to follow this sudden change in their everyday routines. The term “the new normal” describes the changes people have had to deal with amidst the pandemic.
The new normal refers to the shift from the life we have been accustomed to into a way of life where hugging and shaking hands are considered dangerous actions. Everyone must follow these new routines until a vaccine or treatment for the virus is successfully developed. These changes will be part of everyone’s daily lives and consciousness for a very long time. In fact, experts say, life as we know it will never be the same again.
What is the New Normal?
We have highlighted the new habits and procedures that have been formed during the COVID-19 outbreak. This will help educate more people on the proper ways to help contain the virus and flatten the curve.
Social Distancing Practices
Before the outbreak of the virus, physical distancing practices were hardly observed in countries around the world. People were used to being pushed and shoved in public vehicles and other crowded areas like train stations. Now, with the new social distancing rules, individuals are asked to maintain a two-meter distance from one another. This protocol is key in curbing the transmission of the virus, especially in public places. Establishments are also required to adjust seating arrangements so diners or customers no longer stand or sit close to each other.
Because of the outbreak, more individuals are becoming more health-conscious and aware of the importance of having a healthier lifestyle. Besides eating balanced meals, exercising, and proper handwashing, more people are now becoming aware of the importance of these practices. More importantly, sneezing and coughing etiquettes are strictly enforced, especially in cramped spaces. Spitting in public is no longer allowed and people who do so will be penalized or arrested.
Below are some of the procedures that should be part of your new normal routine:
- Wash your hands properly before and after leaving your house. Make sure to wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Eat more balanced meals, and increase your intake of natural vitamin C as it is a great immune booster.
- Exercise regularly to improve your immune system.
- Make it a habit to always wear face masks when going to public areas.
Always sanitize your hands and check your temperature before entering public establishments or vehicles. This procedure has become a requirement for most countries across the globe.
The practice of having consultations or checkups with doctors via the internet has been around for a while. However, it was only when the outbreak of COVID-19 that this option became the norm rather than the exception.
More healthcare facilities are now providing telemedicine services for individuals who need the advice of a healthcare professional. This new procedure is beneficial for people with pre-existing health conditions or so-called co-morbidities. They are the most vulnerable ones and should stay at home as much as possible rather than risk exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
One of the most affected businesses during the pandemic is schools. While many countries continued on-campus classes amidst the outbreak, several nations opted for digital learning. This practice is now essential, especially for countries under lockdown. Virus or no, education must continue. Countries had to adapt and shift to modular learning or a mixed form of education to ensure the safety of students and teachers. In some areas, even graduation rites were done virtually just so students and parents could experience the joys of having their children finish school.
The New Workplace
At the pandemic’s peak, most office workers have opted to work at home using digital tools for meetings and communication with customers, co-workers, and supervisors. Though most people continue to work remotely, some establishments are now reopening and resuming operations on their on-site locations. The following are some of the safety practices that offices implement during the pandemic.
- The distance between office workers is now doubled, with larger spaces in their cubicles or work stations.
- Frequent sanitization of commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, staircase railings, etc is strictly being implemented.
Most companies required the mandatory wearing of face masks when working at the office, manufacturing plants, and company premises. Employee temperatures are taken each morning before they are allowed into the building.
Before the pandemic, many laboratories and hospitals, especially in third-world countries, had minimal testing capabilities and personal protective equipment for their employees. Because of the drastic increase in demand for tests, the governments invested in improving clinical management, infection control, and the availability of testing in various healthcare settings. More counties are now providing mass-testing for COVID-19 so they can quickly isolate infected individuals and prevent widespread transmission of the virus.
Wearing Face Masks
COVID-19 can be quickly spread by coughing, laughing, sneezing, and even talking. Because of its mode of transmission, it can be dangerous to engage with other people in public, especially in crowded areas. This is why governments across the world are strictly implementing the mandatory wearing of face masks in public areas. Wearing face masks protects you from contracting the virus as well as from spreading it to unsuspecting victims.
Many church leaders, pastors, priests, and different spiritual organizations now offer virtual masses and worship services for their devoted followers. Most people now tune in to their radios, computers, or televisions for masses and religious services.
Additionally, guests are limited during weddings, christenings, and other celebrations.
Before the pandemic, most people were accustomed to shaking hands, hugging, and kissing on the cheek as forms of greetings. However, these practices are unhygienic and can easily transmit diseases as they are forms of direct contact. Because COVID-19 is easily transmissible, governments have strictly prohibited these habits. To avoid direct physical contact with other people, you can greet your peers by nodding, waving hands, tapping feet, or even bumping elbows.
Better Safety Habits and Procedures for a Healthier World
Although the pandemic is still ongoing, most people are now getting used to the new normal. Following these safety practices can help us prevent the start of new waves of the outbreak.
Always practice good hygiene, social distancing, and proper wearing of masks to ensure your safety and health as well as those around you. Even when the danger of COVID-19 passes and people go back to their daily lives, these new habits and practices will remain in practice.
Learn them, accept them, and practice them because they can very well save lives.