Heightened emotions
AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) - June 1, 2020 - 12:00am

No one is spared from a possible outburst of emotions during this pandemic. We are talking of issues that can span from trying to meet our basic needs, social-spiritual needs not to mention the most draining need of all, our financial needs.

The situation we face during this crisis is phenomenal. It is just taking too long to resolve. At this point the whole world is still at a lost. We do not know who the enemy is, we cannot see them, and we do not know how to fight them. We continue to hide behind our masks trying to protect ourselves– physically, mentally, and economically.

People are getting sensitive, furious, to the point of being unmanageable and violent. Some are taking advantage of the moment and can easily create a mob mentality.

In the hospitals, grocery stores, banks and other business establishments customers feel overly entitled, get easily frustrated and are very impatient. The problem is as each of us feel the changes and the pressure with the life we have now, medical, social, religious, educational, and business entities must quickly adapt to changes and fast track the creation of the “new normal”.

Just like people who have difficulty coping with change, business or government entities may find it more difficult as well. Imagine changing the whole structure, adding Covid-19 protocols, trying to protect the employees and the clients, etc. This is a long journey ahead that will truly reform our home, our workplaces and society.

Today is the day. We are entering the General Community Quarantine or the GCQ mode. How does one feel upon stepping out of their homes? Do they feel safe? Do they feel anxious? Do they feel confused? We have no choice but to move forward. If the company, industry, or government unit has prepared for the “return to work” mode, then maybe there would be more promise of safety and precaution. People will feel at ease.

To prepare for the GCQ mode, you will need to know how to get to the office safe and sound either via personal car, company shuttle or public transportation. As you arrive at your destination, you should already know the protocols in place, such as testing or screening, submitting health questionnaire, thermal scanning, foot, and body disinfecting. Then you proceed to your office space while following social distancing measures.

In the workplace, there should be no close contact socializing. Just get the work done and as soon as it is done you can probably go home. The less time you spend in public spaces the better. The less people you talk to the better. Try to use video calls as much as possible until we get a vaccine.

But this is not just the case in the workplace. You will need to visit the restrooms, go to the cafeteria, and walk in common hallways, maybe also use the elevator. What do you do? Protect yourself by wearing your face mask all the time. Always have your own hand sanitizer or alcohol. Find ways of holding doorknobs, pressing the elevator keys, dialing the phone. Sanitize the commode and faucets before using them. Clean the chair before sitting. Practice proper respiratory hygiene. It is better to eat alone or with a group of friends while maintaining social distancing. Again, it is better to be safe than sorry.

The most major concern while at work is finding a co-worker running a high fever. What do you do? This is a very tedious process and you will only realize it once you are in it. If you have not experienced such a scenario you will be very lost, anxious, and confused. At this point, you must have rooms prepared for different types of cases. The person with the high fever must be checked by clinic staff in an isolated area for Covid-19 suspects. That Covid-19 suspect must stay there until screening is done. While the other companions who have no fever but were in the same room must be isolated from the workforce. They too should be quarantined and observed. Some companies have assigned quarantine rooms for staff to sleep in while being observed. They can still work but must continue to be isolated until clear.

Now, going back to the Covid-19 suspect. Will you send her home? It is your responsibility to also protect the family and community. So, you must properly discern using the Covid-19 Health Questionnaire. If all directions fall into a positive then she is hospital bound but if not, then she needs to be isolated and observed.

It is always a good idea to discuss the different possible Covid-19 related scenarios in your workplace. By doing so, you develop a clearer vision of the unknown. It will surely appease you and your staff so that you can have a sound mind while going back to work amidst the pandemic.

*      *      *

So, what is happening today? Trains, bus augmentation along EDSA, taxis, TNVS, shuttle services, point-to-point buses and bicycles can operate with limited capacity. Tricycles will be allowed, subject to the prior approval of the concerned LGU. Provincial buses are still not allowed to enter Metro Manila. Domestic air operations resume today while international flights remain suspended.

On full operational capacity are public and private hospitals, health, and emergency services, manufacturers of medicines, medical supplies, devices, and packaging. Agricultural industries, delivery/courier services, groceries, laundry shops, food services (for takeout and delivery), construction (with strict compliance to DTI protocol), veterinary clinics, and funeral services.

On 50% to 100% capacity are: Banks and money transfer services, capital markets (stock exchange), legal and accounting services, architecture and engineering activities, scientific research development, advertising and marketing, computer programming, publishing and printing (newspapers, magazines, textiles, catalogues, brochures, etc.), video production and sound recording, rental and leasing (other than real estate), recruitment offices, photography service, malls (including hardware, clothing stores, mall-based government services, non-leisure stores), barbershops and salons, baby care supplies, pet care supplies, and bookstore and school supply stores.

To remain closed are: children’s amusement industries (toy stores, playgrounds, and playrooms), cultural centers such (museums, gardens, and libraries), tourist destinations (beaches, water parks, resorts), travel agencies, gambling and betting activities (casinos, cockfighting), personal care services (spas, saunas, waxing salons), gyms and fitness studios, cinemas, theatres, karaoke bars, pubs, nightclubs, and beerhouses.

*      *      *

Amidst the intense Covid-19 concerns America is facing, is another outbreak. George Floyd’s death and the seemingly late response of government created havoc, pandemonium, and more troubles to the land of milk and honey. This is also what happens when a President is so callous that he ignores the sentiments of his people.

Yes, it is about discrimination, racism, and prejudice. It has not only ignited the very deep hurts and embedded wounds of the African-American people but also affected many Americans. When the people are already seemingly in pain, leaders must not wait nor aggravate emotions to heighten. They must right away show sensitivity, empathy, and compassion.

We are treading in troubled waters, a treacherous life. We need good leaders with a heart of gold to keep us calm, to show us the way and not to stir our already troubled minds.

COVID-19 PANDEMIC
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