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The new normal

As the world prepares to resume its normal grind, people across the globe will have to adapt to the new normal way of doing things.

The new normal will likely see people keeping their face masks, their first line of defense against COVID-19, even if the Enhanced Community Quarantine order is eased or lifted in some parts of the Philippines. They will consciously practice physical distancing as much as possible and avoid crowded places.

The new normal

The labor force will probably experience a new protocol in work places, with frequent washing of hands part of the new routine, and security guards or an assigned personnel checking on their temperature before entering their building or office premises. For some of the working people and few executives, the work-from-home setup will continue, with their offices only manned by those who must interact with customers and the public.

Fast-food chains will be a different experience for most of the Filipino consumers. These establishments will likely cap the number of customers who can dine for a period of time. Many customers may opt to buy their dinner or lunch to go. Fine dining may also be limited in the post-ECQ period.

The mode of transportation could be tricky for the hundreds of thousands of commuters, especially in Metro Manila. Limiting the number of passengers in trains, jeepneys and buses will become a challenge for commuters and enforcers alike. Drivers of the country's mass transport system, especially buses and jeepneys, are notoriously known for their habit of cramming their vehicles before leaving for their destination.

The restrictions under the new normal regime, however, must not stop the working class from re-joining the labor force. House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez cautioned against social upheaval as an offshoot of the lockdown, noting that the ECQ threw off millions of workers out of work and kept almost the whole population indoors, causing problems in basic survival.

The lawmaker warned of social unrest that could undermine the nation's ability to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Philippines, thus, will have to deal with a new social and economic environment and, at the same time, weigh the effects of new protocols against the interest of the working class.

Topics: Editorial , The new normal , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19 , Enhanced Community Quarantine
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