It’s been a little over a year since the pandemic started and now we’re in round two of a pandemic spring break. Since we’re treading uncharted territory with COVID-19, we were divided about how we went about it. There were no playbooks and the guidance that we got from WHO and the CDC were unclear, confusing, and downright frustrating.
But now we know a lot better compared to where we were around this time last year. Many people, mostly those who didn’t take the disease seriously, went about spring break recklessly and partied really hard in spring break hot spots.
Despite the severity of the situation in New York back then, folks downplayed the disease, with a lot of them screaming out either it’s all a conspiracy and the big corporations are behind it or they want to exercise their civil liberties and not be restrained by any supposed safety measures.
And we paid the price. The cost was very high. These acts of irresponsibility, apathy, and wanton abandon led to surges all over the country. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost.
In a Better Place
As we enter the second spring break a year after the pandemic started, we have somehow grown a bit wiser as a people. True, there are still pockets of resistance, mostly conspiracy theorists and radical leftists, most of us learned our lessons and have taken COVID-19 a lot seriously compared to how we brushed it off a year ago.
We should. We can’t afford not to.
Economies have started to regain their lost momentum. And even though some regions are seeing new surges caused by new coronavirus variants, generally, we’re all in a better place.
The question now is how do we sustain this and navigate our way out of it?
Adapt and Adopt
Admittedly, we all are aware that the dreaded virus has upended a lot of aspects of our lives. From work to school to family affairs, things have changed and are far from the normal we were all used to.
We’ve learned to adapt to the present global health climate for our survival. Plenty of changes were made and safety measures were implemented to keep society functioning in as normal a way as we can. At least the closest that we can get to normal.
We called it the “new normal” not because we wanted to make these changes a staple in society but because we needed to make them to ensure our health and safety. We need it to survive.
We started wearing face masks. Hand washing became a religious practice. We regularly sanitized our surroundings, especially those high-touch surfaces that could be teeming with germs from different people, including the ones who are possibly infected with the coronavirus.
Establishments and workplaces invested in custom signage, which remind people to stay six feet apart from each other and to constantly wash their hands or use hand sanitizers.
Business owners and operators had to replot their workplace layout to ensure employees and clients remain physically distant and that foot traffic inside the premises is limited to only a fraction of their normal capacity.
Restaurants, fast-food joints, and diners tweaked their operations. Some allowed dine-in customers at half the dining area’s capacity. Others only offered take-out, pick-up, and curbside delivery services. Some had to redirect their services to catering and meal-prepping.
Other establishments pivoted their business to help meet some of their communities’ current needs related to the pandemic. Some breweries started manufacturing hand sanitizers to help fill in the gap in the supply chain since a lot of factories and manufacturing plants are operating with only half of their workforce.
White-collar workers were fortunate enough to be allowed to work from home with most companies adopting remote work arrangements to keep their businesses afloat. Others who were laid off and furloughed found other worthwhile jobs online. Some of them started their own online and home-based businesses just to provide for their families while there’s still no job security.
Educational institutions took to the online world and rolled out remote or distance learning setups so that people’s pursuit of education is not hindered by the pandemic. While some schools are considering going back to face-to-face classes, a lot of them plan to continue the present set-up for the students’ safety.
But now that vaccines are already available and are currently being distributed, we’re looking at another round of new changes that will hopefully bring us closer to our old normal. Governments all over the world are now acquiring vaccines for their citizens and rolling out vaccination programs in hope of mitigating, if not completely eliminating, COVID-19.
We can only hope and pray that things finally start to get better. But even if we do eventually get out of the woods, we might need to keep some of the things we’ve adopted in this new normal.