Living in the New Normal

After almost 2 months of lockdowns, and declared States of Emergencies, countries the world over, are now taking ginger steps toward reopening.

Leaders have explained it as the balancing act between protecting public health and reviving stagnant or failing economies. There is mounting evidence that several countries who made the brave leap into opening economies, believing that the virus was sufficiently contained or managed, are beginning to see a resurgence in new cases.

For those who argue that it is too soon to reopen economies slowly, they have history and science in their corner. Pandemics, historically, have been known to come in waves, and often, the second or third wave can be much worse than the first.

Whatever side of the argument you land on, we can all agree that there is a desperate need to learn how to live and work in this new normal, in which we have found ourselves. The traditional ways of living, working and socialising are just not advised or healthy during this period, and possibly, for a very long time to come.

Therefore, we must buckle up, and prepare ourselves for this bumpy ride, as we navigate the new normal, which might require abrupt stops, reversals, and overall changes in direction, because this virus is unpredictable and we have to be flexible in adapting to its volatility.

An opening up of the economy, however gradual, might only be temporary, and governments must tailor their strategies to be able to quickly change course if they need to. What this means, is that an opening up today or this month, can very likely be a State of Emergency lockdown next month.

While leaders balance the big considerations, we, as a people, must learn to adapt our lifestyles accordingly, and thus, help save lives, and curb the spread of this virus.

In observance of that, we remind that, although the government says you are ALLOWED to go outside more often, during specific hours, that does not mean that you should go outside at every available opportunity. We need to balance the human and very real health needs of fresh air and natural Vitamin D, as well as economic necessities, with the consideration that the more we leave our houses unnecessarily, the more likely we are to come into contact with others; and the more likely we are to contract the virus.

For that reason, businesses too, must do their part. Although many are now ALLOWED to reopen, we must remind that businesses in which employees can work from home, should maintain remote work, as much as possible. More remote work equals more office space to facilitate physical distancing of necessary on-site workers.

Remote or online learning, communicating, socialising and working are now the forced ways of life — from funerals, to weddings, to birthday parties, graduation, church services and professional meetings, we are all able to use the online platform to facilitate formerly in-person activities. This is likely to become increasingly so, in this era of physical distancing, as businesses and individuals alike, work out the best models to fit their desired experiences.

For the businesses that are yet to transition, or are unable to transition, operational vigilance is paramount because employee safety is their responsibility. They are required to employ enhanced sanitary measures, adequate spacing and protective equipment.

Here in Grenada, many businesses are now being asked to sign on to specific health and safety protocols to be permitted to operate. Once their doors are open, they will be monitored by officials and might be asked to close for failure to adhere to the established measures.

We have seen how easy it is for viruses to spread. Office spaces and work sites are the ideal environments for viral clusters to develop. Businesses must be mindful that as they navigate this new normal, they too, are likely to have sudden stops, directional changes, or reversals.

This period has not been an easy one, but we have been warned that this might just be the first act. Buckle up. This might be a long ride. Thankfully, there are collective steps that we can take to prevail in this fight.

Wear your masks, practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet, practice proper hygiene by washing your hands frequently, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Also, be prepared to call the nearest health centre or national health hotline at any moment (538 4787 or 458 4787), if you experience, or anyone you know, including an employee or work colleague, exhibits any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19.

Ministry of Health

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