Hi guys, welcome to another guest post as part of my lockdown series – using my blog as a platform to share our new normal. Firstly I would like to thank Vinn for getting involved in this! Let me pass you over:
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Last May I published an article about how people around the world are coping with new normals due to the pandemic. The way we do things, even the simplest ones have changed dramatically. Now, fast forward still with COVID19, How is your new normal these days?
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Previous Article: What’s the #New Normal with COVID 19 Around the World?
COVID 19 Recap
- From 5 million cases and 320,000 deaths since 3rd week of May; as of this writing there are 26 million cases and 864,000 deaths. Therefore statistics show infection surges.
- In most countries, lockdowns slowly relaxed, people can go outside and go as far as allowed and businesses reopened following government’s protocols.
- Borders slowly opening – air, land, and sea travel resume in several countries with restrictions and guidelines in place.
Further Reading: COVID19; When Can We Travel Again?
- COVID19 vaccine is not ready yet. Though pharmaceutical companies are already testing hopefully will be ready end of this year, at least.
- The majority of the economies are struggling to keep afloat and thousands have lost jobs globally.
Issues on Facemasks
World Health Organization and the majority of the health experts advise the use of correct facemask to stop the chain of coronavirus transmissions. Yet debates stir up every now and then in several cities, whether to use a facemask or not.
We just don’t wear facemask.
June 2020 Norway started to slowly open its society, including social activities and businesses but only for a short period of time… week by week the COVID infections are slowly rising.
By July it was steady but people still didn’t wear masks, even in Oslo. However the one-meter distance is being implemented nationwide, and all establishments like grocery, stores, gyms, salons, and restaurants always have sanitizers at entrances.
The problem with Norway or Scandinavia generally, is people never wear masks, especially in the provinces. I don’t know what’s the big deal with the mask since globally most people are using it due to the pandemic. In Oslo, some people are wearing masks already but not the general public. And when you go to smaller cities with 45,000 population nobody wears a mask.
At the start of August this year, Oslo became a red zone, therefore Germany and Denmark closed their maritime borders, or at least controlled them. Wearing of masks was mandated but still only a few wear them.
Above all, Norway still has low cases of COVID, very low and very controlled. It’s just the issue of face mask. Is it that Scandinavians are proud, emanates this mentality that I don’t have to adjust for you… like this is my personal thing…Or is it modern cultural stupidity? It is still an enigma with the face masks… especially the provinces throughout the country. Ben (Sandefjord, Norway)
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Then we stop wearing facemask…
Cyprus managed a gradual relaxation of the lockdown by phases which started the 4th of May. Since then cases fall into single digits and sometimes zero. Guidelines and protocols are put into place thus residents feel safe going out again and then we just stopped wearing masks… Towards the end of July, cluster infections surge in some areas. By 31st of July wearing of masks is mandatory again with a fine of EUR 300 for violators. Currently, cases have gone down again by single digits and no lockdown. – Vinn (Nicosia, Cyprus)
Further Reading: Cyprus in Corona: Post Lockdown
The use of sanitizers, and washing our hands thoroughly is a conscious effort embedded to us due to the pandemic.
With my mom having a medical condition and very vulnerable, I make sure that everyone in the house takes the necessary precaution. Each one of us has an alcohol atomizer, face shield, lots of masks/gloves. We only use surgical masks. There is a handwashing station as soon as you get inside the main gate. There are slippers for indoors and outdoors. For guests, we only entertain them in our veranda.
For the groceries, we still disinfect everything, but no longer using bleach just like before. I use regular soap or dishwashing liquid, scrubbing the items at least in twenty seconds. – Daffy (Cebu City, Philippines)
Consider purchasing disposable gloves from a wholesale seller, like Unigloves – so you never have to worry about dirty hands. Public places can hold so many germs, so the less your hands are in contact with anything touched by others, the better.
Are you still a germ buster?
A New Backyard Cafe in Town
Life in the countryside has slowly creeping, adopting all the minimum health protocols. In our case we already adopt into it, just putting extra care in everything we do. We plan to take our garden to the next level aiming not just sustainability but also a beautiful backyard garden to make way in opening a Backyard Cafe. At the moment we choose to plant veggies and crops that would be the main ingredients to our upcoming menus launching. All is still a work in progress now.Coffee Accessories
We have accepted that this pandemic will take for a while, hence we are working to be sustainable in our own ways. We choose to keep going and we need to continue and utilize what we have. – Cheryl (Bohol, Philippines)
New Normals At Work
Changes at Work
Aloha! Here is my update at our physical therapy center. We have a COVID questionnaire screening for all patients to fill up every time they enter the facility and at the start of their physical therapy session. Body temperature is checked and we are requiring all the patients to wear any forms of face covering. All Physical therapists and staff on the floor are also wearing masks,face shields, and gloves for protection for hands-on activities. – Angela (Hawaii, USA)
Zenefits have created a Vaccination Policy template to help with workplaces adapting and getting back to normality when bringing employees back in. Check it out!
Let’s Go Digital!
It’s the start of another working week here in Qatar. Here are my daily essentials: hand sanitizer, disposable mask, and vitamins to protect me from the virus. Qatar has is now in phase 4 of the gradual lifting of COVID 19 restrictions and that means reopening of malls in full capacity, return of 80% of the workforce in the office, and resuming of 30% capacity of public transportation.
I have to be more careful and extra vigilant with what’s happening around. In my line of work, I meet a lot of clients every day and sometimes even go to their offices or construction sites for measurements and meetings about our products and services, before the pandemic. Now, most of my transactions are online (Thank God for technology!) and my meetings are impersonal via Zoom. Qatar has 2,898 total number of active cases as of this writing and I pray every day that the numbers keep on declining. – Christian (Doha, Qatar)Digital Learning Materials Best Sellers
Workforce Lay- Offs
Our company is downsizing due to the pandemic. Thankfully I still have my job and now, I work on weekends handling responsibilities of the retrenched staff. Dubai seems normal except that we are mandated to wear masks. However, at the metro rail station, there is rarely any social distancing at all! – Glyza (Dubai, UAE)
Working From Home
Since May, it is almost the same I still work from home. But for the rest of our frontline staff, they are slowly starting to go back to our office but with very strict compliance. They need to present a document issued by the government health staff from their area, a COVID Free Certificate. Our company has strict policies in allowing staff to enter the premises. One of the reasons is we have lost three colleagues due to COVID.
I order my groceries online because until now, I still did not receive a quarantine pass that allows me to go outside for errands. I give up waiting for the government personnel to send it to me. – Kate (Cebu City, Philippines)
All schools in Mexico City and surrounding areas are doing distance learning these days. Cases are still rising. I’m teaching online and I like it a lot. No need to wake up early and to travel to my workplace. – Jerwin (Mexico City, Mexico)
New Normals in Education
Back to School
At school we have new rules:
- The lesson is now shorter. Before an academic period is forty-five minutes with fifteen-minute breaks in between. Now the lessons are shorter, 40 minutes each, and the breaks are longer; 20 minutes each.
- The classes have different entrance time and different lesson start times, so that the kids from different classes do not meet in the corridors during the breaks.
- There are four entrances to the school that are open so that the kids don’t crowd at the entrance. Before COVID only one main entrance is used, the other entrances were for emergency situations.
- At the entrance, each kid is taken temperature, and the kids with minor cold signs (such as cough or running nose) are not admitted.
- We were warned that if the kid has a high temperature and/or feels sick during the lessons, we have 30 minutes to pick her up. After 30 minutes, the school will call for an ambulance and we have to deal with infectious diseases hospital if we fail to pick up our child from school in time.
- Each class has sanitizers, and kids will need to bring their own whiteboard markers and use their own markers further on.
- However it’s clear that it’s not possible to have kids and teachers wear masks all day, and they are afraid that the kids experience a lack of oxygen this way, so masks are not obligatory at schools.
- Parents are not admitted inside the school.
- In school, it looks more or less in order. We didn’t have to collect any certificates from our pediatrician. The school has a medical check-up facility and that’s it.
Learning at Home
My son is doing online classes from the same school. But I have to do a lot of supervision during sessions, guiding him with logging in and assisting with all the activities. At some point, I end up answering the activities for him. When I’m at work, he calls me frequently on what to do. I don’t see much advancement in this setup. I am considering a modular education program or transferring him to a public school in the meantime. – Helen (Cebu, Philippines)
Entertainment in New Normal Mode
This is Robyn! In this pic, I am with Alan Committie, one of SA’s top stand up comics. It was my first live theatre show since our national lockdown in March. Theatres were closed from March 15 so it was great to be there, after months of watching shows being streamed on the digital stage. Absolutely thrilling.
In addition to his stand-up skills, Alan Committie is also an accomplished award-winning theatre actor and director. This pic was taken in a pop-up theatre in a film and sound studio in Cape Town. There was a small audience – masked up, sanitized, temperatures taken at door -and the show was live-streamed as well. Hybrid theatre is going to probably be what we can expect until a vaccine is found for COVID-19 or the virus burns out. The benefit of the digital stage is that shows are accessible for a global audience. Amazing talent in South Africa. See my website TheCapeRobyn: arts, destinations, style
Masks are mandatory. Everywhere. – The Cape Robyn (Cape Town, South Africa)
New Normals When Outside
Corona Tracking App
The cases are steadily dropping in Ontario now we are at stage 3. We can see friends and family but gathering up to ten persons only. Our interaction is within our “social bubble” (the same 10 people that we interact with frequently).
A COVID 19 Tracking app was launched wherein you will get an alert if you happen to be in contact with someone who tested positive. People log in to the app anonymously and their information is confidential but they use some kind of electronic contact tracing via GPS that will determine if you were in the same area with a COVID positive person.
Parks and restaurants are open now but social distancing is a must and it is mandatory to wear a mask when indoors. Most workplaces will continue to work from home until a cure/vaccine is made available. It is still kind of strange but not as isolating as before. This is our new normal here. They will take a stance based on the uptick of cases so hopefully, we will not experience any surges. – Helene (Toronto, Canada)Support small businesses doing great things for their communities
Celebrating Independence Day
September 2nd is Vietnam’s Independence Day, a perfect day for parents to take their kids to shopping malls, cafés, and game centers. New normal means people have learned how to live with the pandemic, and that means taking precautions such as social distancing, wearing masks, and temperature checks while enjoying a national holiday, a weekend, or a typical day. Some schools have also face to face classes already. Hanoi has done a great job since day one to curb COVID-19. – Sue (Hanoi, Vietnam)
Public Transport Resumes
Starting on the 1st of September, the metro rail transit and karwa bus resume operations although catering only 30% of normal capacities and of course with all the necessary safety measures. Our public transport halted at the start of the pandemic last March. Some private companies are still in skeletal force. Restaurants now open for dine-in services with a limited number of diners. As for the corona cases, we have about 200-300 cases daily, compared last June having 2,000 daily cases. Wearing of masks is mandated. – Jenny (Doha, Qatar)
Just go straight to the ocean!
Due to rising cases in Hawaii, we have our second lockdown on August 8th. Most establishments and restaurants are close right now. Tourist and Residents from the Mainland USA arriving to the island needs quarantine for 14 days in their hotels or residents. State and City ordinance implements a lot of protocols, one of these is you can surf, swim, and do other water activities on the beach but you cannot walk and stay in the sand bars. Just go straight to the ocean! A fine of USD 5,000 is imposed on violators. – Angela (Hawaii, USA)
Just Getting Comfortable with New Normal
Nothing much has changed since May, except for the opening of schools. I go to work and on weekends I go out with my kids or friends. Just getting comfortable with social distancing, sanitizing all the time, and the wearing of masks is voluntary. – Thess Mica (Nagoya, Japan)Find Unique Gifts on Amazon Handmade
Into the Woods
Update in Stockholm, events of over 50 people is not allowed. However, private gatherings are allowed just as long as not in public places. It feels normal and people are free and can do whatever they want to but of course respecting the government’s recommendations (not enforced). Some people are still even going to their regular trips – vacation to Spain, Italy, or France. I spent my vacation enjoying the beauty and nature of Sweden.
COVID 19 Recommendations: Maximum of 10 people when hiking. There is enough space to walk a meter behind another and also advice to take your own car than taking public transportation if you want to go somewhere inland, north or southern parts.
The trend of our COVID cases has gone down but over the past few weeks when the school was opened again, the cases went up a little but not dramatic. Wearing of masks in not required, just a voluntary basis and hand sanitizers are found everywhere. – Anne (Stockholm, Sweden)Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
At the start of the pandemic, is a doomsday for all of us, and I can’t seem to imagine what’s gonna happen in the next six months. And here we are! This article is just to show you how people are coping with so many issues in our daily lives. The past few months were indeed a series of struggles and only God knows what the future holds.
Nevertheless, we don’t have much choice but to acknowledge the pandemic and is here to stay for a while. Every sector in the society is trying to work things out painstakingly. Just imagine how schools are preparing for reopening? Yet, for parents, there are endless concerns, confusion, and headaches.
But then again, we all resolve to keep on fighting and take one day at a time. Thank God, no more hoarding of goods these days!
What I worry about is the long term effects of this pandemic in the economy, health, education, our generation, and the entire society. Nobody knows…
But let’s just all stay afloat. Nothing is impossible, right?
Before I end, let’s not forget that so many people are not in good condition right now – financially, healthwise, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. What we can offer is a simple act of kindness every day.
Now it is your turn dear reader, let me ask in this time of COVID19, How is your New Normal?
About the Writer:
All of us follow a path to an amazing journey of our lives. From time to time we are heading to certain destinations and several stopovers along the way. So I’m sharing with you great escapes and experiences en route.
I have been mostly in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the eastern part of Europe – Cyprus, and Greece. Currently here in Cyprus and I have a bunch of things for you to look forward to. You’ll never know till you get there…