Let’s talk about new normal having so much buzz these days since the pandemic started last March 2020. What’s the #New Normal with COVID 19 around the world?
What is New Normal?
#New Normal was also coined in the business world following the recent financial crisis and the aftermath of the global recession (2008-2012).
In the time of COVID 19
In the light of Coronavirus pandemic, there is an emergence of the new normal. Currently we are plagued by this infectious disease with almost 5 million cases as of this writing and claimed more than 320,000 lives according to WorldOmeter. Up to this date, there is no known cure and vaccine yet.
The toughest thing is to be at war with an invisible and micro enemy. How do we protect ourselves and beat them? Hence, the World Health Organization as outlined the following safety precautions:
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease.
- Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.
All across media platforms people around the world are sharing how they are battling with this virus. The course of action depends on the information from the health agencies and government policies. This article shows how citizens are getting by each day and helps us grasp better on various situations surrounding this pandemic.
Without delay, let’s hear what’s the new normal around the world!
“At the grocery earlier, I wear a face cloth since surgical masks are out of stock. I am working as a nurse in COVID Unit, I cannot risk anyone to get infected if ever I am asymptomatic. The Americans are divided about wearing facemasks. For me, wearing facemasks doesn’t make us weak afraid, or controlled. It makes us considerate. Consider someone’s dad, mom, grandpa, grandma on a ventilator right now and ask yourself could you have sucked it up a little for them”. – Joshua (Florida, USA)
“We don’t wear masks in public, only in hospitals. The government’s approach here in Norway is herd immunity – happens when so many people in a community become immune to an infectious disease that it stops the disease from spreading. At the beginning of the global lockdown last March, the general population stayed at home. As of the 2nd week of May of about 8200 cases, there are 232 deaths.” – Ben (Sandefjord, Norway)
“I am assisting my hubby as a soap and detergent salesperson at a new factory shop in Cape Town. Very strict lockdown in South Africa. I now go to the supermarket with a mask and face shield. (Mask not shown in pic). Thinking of donning a hazmat suit. With cramped conditions for the majority of South Africans and us going into winter, expecting loads of infections over June, July, & August. Those are the predictions. We hope for the best but we are preparing for the worst -with hand and surface sanitizer. Check out Food Safety Africa.” – TheCapeRobyn (Cape Town, South Africa)
“Given the scarcity of PPEs, it feels like I’m robbing the frontliners of N95 masks but I have an autoimmune condition. Now that we are back to work, I just stop taking immunosuppressants and I am having flare-ups. But it’s either that or deliberately handing myself over to the virus.” – Jennifer (Dubai, UAE)
Sanitizing has never been extensive in our daily lives, a new skill has been developed with a high level of precision. We are now germs, bacteria, and virus busters in disinfecting grocery items. Sanitizing our homes like it almost smells like hospital corridors. Thank goodness, there are fragrant sprays available.
“I take extreme precaution at home. My mother has a medical condition and she is very vulnerable. We have a foot bath for outdoor footwear with zonrox and water. All shoes/slippers are left outside the door. There is a shoe rack for outdoor footwear and indoor rack for slippers. All floors, tiles, vinyl even the wooden floor are mop with water with zonrox and no more floor wax. I spray Lysol to rooms and trash bins. Every time we take her out for dialysis, we wear masks, face shields, and bouffant caps. Prior to entering our house, showering is a must, we have an outdoor shower facility. “- Daffy (Cebu, Philippines)
“Clothes worn outside goes straight to the laundry room. I have a laundry sanitizer to disinfect the clothes and I no longer use a fabric conditioner. I spray doorknobs, house and car interior, and grocery items with surface sanitizer. My husband thinks I’m a little bit crazy.” – A.R (Perth, Australia)
Going for groceries can be a tedious process these days. At the store entrance, sanitizer and gloves are provided. After completing purchases, load the grocery bags to the car, return the cart, dispose of used gloves and sanitize. In the house, I wear gloves again, take out items and go straight to the patio table under the heat of the sun and leave them for a few minutes. Lastly, the items are sanitized with 90% alcohol prior to storage. Fruits and vegetables are washed with soap and detergent after a few minutes from the sun.
Don’t you think these germs, microbes, and droplets can manage to escape from us?!
At the Workplace
“Stay home order is extended until the end of June yet I still go to work every day as a physical therapist. I got tested for the virus, Thank God, it is negative. The new normal at work is wearing a surgical mask, gloves, and hair cap. Before it was only a scrub suit. I miss riding the bus and going downtown. Waikiki area is like a ghost town, all hotels are close, and malls just opened with only a few shops operate. We have 0-3 Corona cases per day.” – Angela (Hawaii, USA)
“As a dentist our norm is always wearing masks, goggles/glasses, face shields, head caps, and sometimes PPEs for special cases in the clinics. The new normal for our clinic is purchasing a lot of machines (which aren’t cheap BTW) for virus protection since our profession is the #1 that ranks for being hazardous with this Pandemic.” – Dr. Jo Anne Rivera (Cebu, Philippines)
“In this dining facility where I work, all staff line up for temperature checks at prestart. For dining customers, the chefs at the buffet table prepares the food on their plates to avoid any contact, and condiments are portion controlled (PC). Seating capacity is only for two diners per table. Once customers enter the facility the security directs them to the washing and sanitizing area. Orders are packed for takeaways. We don’t wear masks at all.” – Ashley (Brisbane, Australia)
“As mandated by our government we have started working back to our offices with only 30% capacity per day. Mask and gloves are obligatory. But I am scared commuting everyday, coz you’ll never know the person sitting next to you might be infected”. – Glyza (Dubai, UAE)
“The truth is that COVID 19 didn’t change the way we sanitize the ship as this is a constant for us on board of a cruise ship. The health measures are now stricter as we have to wear masks everywhere. In public areas we have to keep six feet apart from each other.
“Sadly this pandemic has brought uncertainty to employment status. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this and when can I return home? This is teaching me to live day by day without making plans for the near future. I am keeping healthy by exercising and taking the time to take care of myself. I certainly hope I will be home soon and curious to see how life post-COVID19 will be.” – Carolina (docked somewhere in the Caribbean)
Work from Home
WFH; Simply means working in your own place of residence rather than in your place of work; the office, factory, clinic, gyms, etc.
This has evolved for quite some time as virtual jobs or off-site jobs – a totally reliant on technology. For video conferencing there are Zoom, Skype, Google hangouts, and other apps.
Business solutions are growing on how to address working from home.
“We are in Phase 3 of the contingency plan. Quarantine is until the 30th of May but it might be extended. I’ve been doing online classes as an English teacher. I started before the pandemic but now all classes are online. That’s my ‘new normal’ I guess.” – Jerwin (Mexico City, Mexico)
“Catching up with work through Zoom video conference. But with the rising temperatures, all I can think of is missing the air condition at the office! “- Kate (Cebu, Philippines)
“Here’s what a school lesson looks like now))). And it’s so much harder for teachers to manage a class of 24 kids on-line.”
Vinn: How are you dealing with the kids?
“We go for walks, social distancing, of course. We have a facemask and gloves, it is obligatory when stepping outside the home. On a daily basis we have about 5000-7000 cases.”
I’m teaching Russian as a foreign language to earn money, I have to quickly learn on-line teaching and learn how to use zoom and other technology. – Anna (St. Petersburg, Russia)
“My husband and I are both working at home. We are busy managing with the kids and our top priority is the strict hygiene. Sometimes I feel I’m getting paranoid with this pandemic. The restrictions are finally over, we go for park visits but never in crowded areas. When grocery shopping, it is more convenient for us to click and collect since we don’t have time to go to physical stores.” – Genevieve (Auckland, New Zealand)
“Schools start to open by Monday. Classes are split into 2 groups, half of the students go to class on specific days. They are partly homeschooled. To-do lists are given and they have scheduled video conferences with the teachers. I can’t help feeling stressed since I have other chores at home and kids don’t listen to me sometimes.” – Margie (Vienna, Austria)
Managing a home in this pandemic is tough, I have to look after the physical and mental health and the daily needs of each family member. At the time of ECQ (total lockdown), everything increased; food consumption, necessity bills, and we only manage one source of income in which I am not used to. Unfortunately, I have to put on halt other streams of income due to government policies that restrict movement.
I immediately put a garden for us to work on which works well in the countryside with ample place. We keep ourselves busy, away from social media, and we are working out as well. Growing plants and harvesting gives us the satisfaction and uplifts our mental health indeed, an accomplishment despite the current situation. Our harvest gives us the right kind of food that boosts our immune system.
More importantly, we are reviewing closely our expenses. The grocery list is cut down to what is necessary/essential. Utility bills such as electricity and water are assessed and cut down unnecessary usage. Many more options to manage the mental and financial needs of our family. We are a work in progress and we will get there. For I know this too shall pass. – Cheryl (Bohol, Philippines)
Here in Cyprus we are now in the second phase in easing restrictions. More business sectors are open including schools with guided measures. We have about a month of strict lockdown. SMS to a government system every time we step out of the house, movement is limited to a specific time duration, and penalties for violators. On May 4th we entered the second phase, a few shops started opening. This Friday market reopened. Shoppers lined up outside to prevent overcrowding, two-meter social distancing marks, and wearing of masks and gloves. For the past few weeks, infected cases are only by single digits. The government’s approach to fighting this pandemic is listening to medical experts. I feel safe here.
“I feel safer and grateful that the cab drivers came up with the initiative to protect themselves and their passengers. Thumbs up to them for doing their social responsibility. My thoughts about the new normal? Well, I feel that everyone has to do our respective social responsibilities. As this crisis is never temporary, I need to plan ahead with regards to safety and survival. New Normal for me personally includes consumption of food that basically helps to boost my immune system”. – Jenny (Doha, Qatar)
“Strange time it is… Busy streets and playgrounds are now a deafening silence…and playgrounds are closed until further notice. People are practicing social distancing though which is good. Hopefully everyone will keep the distance and stay healthy.” – Helene (Toronto, Canada)
“There are no changes in my normal life except that we are not allowed to travel by air. More relax and open here – Shops, malls, and schools are open. Social distancing is already a norm before COVID 19. Swedes are very reserved people and we usually keep one-meter distances in bus queues. There’s no harsh regulations just recommendation to not travel abroad or travel out of our city.” – Anne (Stockholm, Sweden)
“SELF SERVICE is the usual norm in some bars and restaurants. Now with the new normal; staffs serve everything and only accept card payments, not cash.” – Ben (Sandefjord, Norway)
“Everyone is cool here. Most of the grocery items are now in stock, toilet paper is now available! Restaurants are open for drive-thru or to go; traffic is building up and more movement of the people. We wear masks here and that was how we shop for our new home. – Jane (California, USA)
“I’m staying indoors. It is really scary to go out at the moment. I just go out to buy food at the local shops. I don’t like to travel on the bus. Not safe.”- Susie (London, UK)
“We are OK here, the state emergency already ended. No lockdown only that the government has urged us to stay indoors. In supermarkets, malls, and restaurants we observe social distancing. Only a few people go to parks these days. – Thess Mica (Nagoya, Japan)
The state of emergency here in Osaka was lifted last May 15. Shops are allowed to operate now but with precaution; alcohol and sanitizer are available at the entrance of each shop. They try to control the flow of people inside the shops and the restaurant by limiting the customers. At the cashier they encourage people social distancing by putting marks on the floor at least one meter apart. Most of the restaurants here offer take out so people can enjoy their food at home. Store hours still close early including supermarkets. Regarding school, we are still waiting for the announcement of the Board of Education when the classes will resume. Some students go to school to get and submit their homework and for school counseling. People are still advised to stay home and to avoid the crowd and unnecessary gatherings.- Jomar (Osaka, Japan)
“Schools reopened last May 4 after shutting down for three months, and classes slowly resumed. In the language school where I’m working, social distancing for 1-2 meters was required and wearing masks for the first weeks. Body temperatures are regularly checked for all staff and students, and everyone using sanitizers frequently. The city was on lockdown for a month. We wear masks outside all the time. Fines and even imprisonment were imposed by the government for anyone disobeying policies. Everyone is cooperative and we don’t have many cases here.” – Sue (Ha Noi, Vietnam)
Shops are now open except for bars and restaurants, sanitization is a requirement before entering the shop. Some shops require wearing a mask inside. I only wear a mask inside the shops. Other food stores are open for deliveries or take out only. I shop twice a week early in the morning to avoid the queue. We no longer fill in a document when going out after our two-month lockdown however, we can only travel 100 km away from our place.” – Mabel (Aix-en-Provence, France)
“I feel safe here, our government has done massive testing, even those with no symptoms. Work and schools continue to operate. Schools with more than 20 students are divided. At the start of the pandemic, a crowd of 20 persons is not allowed but now we are allowed up to 50 persons. The islands are still close and expected to reopen by June 15th. We don’t wear masks going out.” – Candace (Reykjavík, Iceland)
“Now I am at my grandma’s village where no panic of the virus. Feeling every sunrise and sunset is bliss. We can be still happy without leading luxury life, going to parties, etc. This reminds me of my childhood days. It’s a break for everyone to learn about themselves. I even started cooking many new dishes. Spending valuable time with family. More nature walks and having healthy food. Even though there is no virus in this village but everyone is conscious about it and take precautions. This pandemic teaches us cleanliness, hygiene. Everyone using sanitizer, handwash, and masks. – Keerthi (Bangalore, India)
These are the #NewNormal from around the world. From here, we get a level of understanding that humankind will always be resilient wherever they may be.
Outlook on the Travel Industry
The travel industry suddenly hit rock bottom as airports, seaports, and borders shut down indefinitely. At a certain time, borders will reopen.
Let’s hear from our travel partners a glimpse of our future travels:
“General health protocol developments and security measures such as virtual meetings, space between people, cashless transactions, pre-vaccine requirement, facial shields, sanitizers in micro/macro levels for that sense of safety. Moving on and coping up from this anticipatory anxiety of what the future holds comprise the new norm.” – Ms. Cherry Callelero (Manager – Grand Holidays Travel and Tours Inc.)
“The hotel will not make a profit for the next first year; staff salaries reduction by 50% in the next six months. Hotel being a service industry will sacrifice to cater to the guests the best way they can, same time provide jobs for the deserving few even it requires lowering the salaries.” – Ashoka Gunawardena, Cluster Senior Sales Manager, Royal Rose Hotel Abu Dhabi
“Qatar Airways cutting 20% of its workforce and some outlook of the aviation industry.”
“The presence of Covid19 surely took down means and the urge to travel, thus mainly affecting the travel industry. I would expect the surge of digitalization, as means of exploring travel possibilities, as destinations must be well planned to keep safety first to its travelers.” – Malou Manota (Airline and Agency Sales Supervisor, Sabre Travel Network Phils)
“The pandemic has a massive impact on our economy. The devastation was felt by businesses all over the world, especially the aviation industry as airports around the globe are highly affected. The new normal is for customer service staff wearing state of the art helmets with built-in thermal scanner to check passengers. The airport itself is more sanitized by installing robotic machines with UV rays. Nobody knows when operations will get back to its stability. What’s important right now is to cater to the needs of the passengers and ensure that the staff will still have a job to embrace.” – Edwina Sumaylo (Facilities Management, Hamad International Airport, Qatar)
“This is how I see travel will change in the future, whenever it is “safe” to get back to our own travel habits: It will start slow as governments gradually lift measures. People will start venturing out to places within their own communities (if you are able to drive to it) immediately as they get their initial grips of freedom.
Foreign tourism will take a while to return back to normal. The way I see it, coming from an aviation background, people will be picky in terms of personal space and where they will be able to go. Flying business class or having your cabins will be something lucrative for travelers, as some may be concerned about being too close to someone they don’t know. Travelers will most likely consider an intimate travel style for small groups or solo traveling. Most likely avoiding to fall in line and go with travel groups.
One decisive factor for people post-pandemic would be the access to medical care in foreign countries as well. They would look into the possibility of enhancing their own purchased travel insurance. Opting for insurance policies that will guarantee medical evacuation or access to the top hospitals in the region.” – Mark, Airline professional from NY, USA
What’s on your minds? Will you travel again?
Surprisingly writing this article is a journey by itself. Initially a visual story about sanitizing develop into a story of coping and learning new normals during this pandemic all over the world.
- I take this pandemic very seriously and with a certain degree of paranoia. The numbers of cases and deaths are no joke. Amid lockdown the thought of stepping out seems like a nightmare. And now, I feel safe going out. I take responsibility to protect myself and others. And with fewer crowds, for now, I am more confident in going outdoors.
- I am optimistic that this crisis will be over soon. Several places are now COVID 19 free, and in some countries cases are dwindling. At some point we will liberate from this.
- I am a believer that education is a powerful tool. Educate yourself. Know facts, not fake news. Know where to get the right information. Worries caused by ignorance are purely a waste of time.
- Business planning process never goes out of style. The situation differs in every village, city, and nation. What makes policies effective is to understand what’s going on with the roots – demographics, culture, and current situation. Next, check what’s the situation outside. From there, build strategies – Implement – Evaluate and Adjust. This is planning. Research, research, research!
- Let’s contribute to start our economy running. Challenging times in all sectors in our communities. What’s next? This is an opportunity for all businesses and enterprises to find ways on how to operate. How can we help our economy? Support local businesses, or buy from Starbucks or Mcdonald’s after all, they are employing the local workforce. Not all of us are entrepreneurs but don’t restrict yourself to what you can do. Or perhaps your skills will be usable within the community, so start making a difference.
- New Normal is constantly changing. The data of this pandemic is changing every day. New normals will always undergo modification as the situation progresses. Expect more measures and more changes. The best way is to keep on embracing every change for the greater good.
- Will I travel again? YES, when I feel safe again I will. At the onset of the outbreak of Coronavirus, I was running around in a general hospital for weeks. A day before the declaration of a pandemic, I was on a long-haul flight from Southeast Asia to Europe with a six-hour layover in the Middle East. I have with me surgical masks and bottles of hand sanitizer. I know its scary. Truth is, infection is not airborne only when droplets get inside the body. Maybe I was lucky? Or shall I say I protected myself the best as I could? With the ongoing repatriation flight; just a crazy thought, I don’t mind flying these days.
Now, that you’ve read this far, can you share your takeaways too?
” I see a lot of people in social media promising to change their lives after this is over; to support social causes, to connect more with family and friends, to evaluate one’s careers and choices or one’s relationship with significant others and so on and so forth. It struck me that what I want is actually what one considers as mundane.
You see, I just want to add my bag and luxury shoe collection. In fact to de-stress my self, I would go to digital window shopping and put these items on my cart and wished that all items are available once there is a fund. I know it seems shallow for you in this challenging time.
But the thing is, I always share in making a difference to someone’s life – providing education to several members of my family, assisting in medical emergencies, raising funds for funerals and I am currently supporting a local animal shelter. Well, it’s about time I think of prioritizing myself. Life is so damn short to always relegate oneself to be second choice.”- Ara (Muscat,Oman)
“2020 is the most significant year in our lifetime… it started with a blast which the whole world suddenly stood still, where every decision matters and handled with care. Everyone became fragile and the cause is a disease. Dis-ease means nothing with ease. There is difficulty.
” My dear child God said, do not be afraid of the unknown for you always believe Me in your heart that what is impossible to you doesn’t limit my power to disperse darkness in your life.”
These positive words should keep our thoughts protected. In spite of the pandemic we are facing now, it is just a challenge to level up our way of understanding how life is all about. As long as we have faith, love, and humility in our hearts, nothing will keep our spirit astray. The World is healing, we just need to keep going, even if with a little fear let courage lead the way. Keepsafe Everyone and have a wonderful day.” – Christie M. Roca (Pranic Healer, Philippines)
P.S. Huge thanks to all contributors and special thanks to Ben and Rica.