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Keeping Oneself Safe in the New Normal

Reine Amabel J. Jaruda and Marianne Lois M. Boncolmo

As the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) slowly lifts the restrictions of quarantine measures in most parts of the country, a majority would soon find themselves having to commute and mingle with a lot of people amid the new normal. This seems like a scary disposition to face given the rising cases in the country but fear not: The New Builder has laid out simple guidelines that one can follow to maximize safety and minimize transmission.

Before leaving the house

More often than not, many people leave their house in a rush. Whether to go to school, to work, or to run errands, the usual goal is to get out as fast as one can. However, with the current circumstances, this habit cannot continue.

With quarantine guidelines being imposed to ensure the safety of everyone going outside of their homes, the IATF has mandated face masks and recommends the wearing of other personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields and gloves as well. Because of this, one should have their set of PPEs and sanitary products ready to go before walking out the door. After all, one cannot come to a battle unprepared.

On the other hand, if one is showing symptoms of illness such as coughing, fever, or shortness of breath, it is gravely advised that they stay at home and do a voluntary self-quarantine for the sake of the people around them – especially before they can get any professional medical attention.

During the commute

Now is not the time to tolerate the so-called “Filipino Time”. Avoid commuting at peak hours as much as possible and be reminded that it is better to travel early to avoid the crowds and minimize the transmission of the disease. One must also follow the visual guidelines and commute protocols that the local government or facilities have indicated for social distancing purposes. Remember to sit at least one seat apart from the other passengers even if the public vehicle does not have makeshift barriers. Even when commuting with a friend or a significant other, travel as if you are on your own.

While riding public transport, or even hailing services like Grab, avoid unnecessary touching of surfaces like poles, rods, and handles as these surfaces can contain the virus anywhere from a few hours to several days unless regularly sanitized – which should be assumed to not be the case. One cannot be too careful of the virus. Standard guidelines such as wearing masks, sanitizing hands often, and not touching the face must still be observed during commute.

After travel

Microbiology experts advise having an “inside” and “outside” clothes to avoid bringing in potential viruses indoors. In that note, a commuter can wear a coat or jacket over their attire during the commute, take it off upon arrival, and store it in a plastic bag that is in turn kept inside their bag. Sanitizing hands, garments, phones, and keys is also advisable before entering the building premises. When arriving to one’s humble abode, it is advisable to immediately wash the hands and face, and shower immediately to ensure that the virus will not stick to belongings.

While public transport is already made available for everyone who’s travelling locally amid the pandemic, one simply cannot ignore the risks and challenges to face while traveling to any place. Remember to keep oneself safe, healthy, and stress-free when commuting in this new normal situation. These guidelines are only a few of a lot more measures one can take to keep themselves safe when venturing into the new normal.

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