The New Normal: 9 Initiatives We Can Continue Even After COVID-19 Pandemic Is Lifted

Published April 19, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

Work from Home COVID

A well-loved character from the series Prison Break had said this line a couple of times: “the only constant in this world is death, tax, and change.” Do you agree?

The whole world is in recession right now. The economy is suffering, so are we. We are flabbergasted with how this pandemic is killing our livelihood and for us, entrepreneurs, more lives are affected because we don’t have an income to share with our employees.

One of the critical things we need to grasp is the idea of changing – changing systems, changing ideas, changing protocols, etcetera. In a crisis like this, a clear context of what to do to cope with change is valuable. This is quite challenging as we have never dealt with something like this before. We may have but this era is totally different from the audience of WWII or SARS epidemic. COVID-19 is a change that shook the whole world and forced us to adjust to the “new normal.”

Evidently, this is the best time to learn new things. This is also the perfect time to practice mindfulness. These temporary restrictions allowed us and our leaders to think outside the box. Millennial leaders, for instance, revived great initiatives from the past and enhanced it to be appreciated in this day and age.

Here are some initiatives we can continue even after this pandemic is lifted.

  1. Mobile Palengke

Everybody knows that Mobile Palengke was initiated by Mayor Vico Sotto of Pasig City.

But, back in the days, there was already a mobile palengke. If you live in a secluded place like a village or subdivision, there’s always this vendor roaming around selling different kinds of produce. Some have fresh meat and fish, while some just sell pure veggies. The only difference now is that the guy is on wheels! Or better yet, order online and your items can be delivered right to your doorstep! 

Truthfully, with or without a pandemic, we all clamor for convenience. We pay for convenience. So, with the rising population and car owners in the Philippines, traffic is inevitable. To help alleviate the number of people going out to do chores, a mobile palengke could be a lifesaver!

  1. Online Consultation or Telehealth

Did you know Telemedicine or Telehealth was first introduced during the mid 1900s to 1980s? It was popularly used by astronauts and the navy. Telehealth or telemedicine is designed to offer medical help to people even though they are far from the hospital. However, due to limitations and restrictions of other countries and other doctors, telemedicine is the last resort of hospitals. 

Due to COVID-19 risks, all hospitals are drastically forced to change their out-patient services protocols. So, to avoid further virus transmissions, they partnered with technology-based services to propagate online consultation. Nowadays, patients with non-covid symptoms may consult with their doctors via Viber, Skype, Messenger, or through a third-party provider. My family and I have tried this service recently, thanks to Qualimed Sta. Rosa, OPD online department and our favorite ENT Doctor in Alfonso, Dr. Jose Jose. We sent messages and photos to Dr. Gines (a Pediatrician) and she gladly accommodated us right away. Both took the extra mile to make sure the patient is okay.

The services are similar to being at the clinic, except the consultation is done over the phone. Photos or any other requests to the doctors must be sent online.

After COVID-19, I believe this service must be retained or offered, especially, to patients with mobility problems. Furthermore, this will help save more time, and time is the most expensive commodity. If this shall be retained, we don’t need to take a leave from work just to sit for hours for a 10-minute consultation session. 

With the latest trend in technology, telehealth can be a standalone service moving forward. 

  1. Botika On Wheels (Pharmacy on wheels)

While we already have the “pick-up and drive-thru” services rolled out even before COVID-19, pharmacy on wheels is yet another great initiative. Under the supervision of Mayor Randy Salamat of Alfonso, Cavite, his SK members thought this would be of great help, especially, to our elders or persons with (dis)abilities. 

According to Mayor Randy Salamat’s Facebook post, those who would like to use this service must visit their respective Barangay to enlist their medicines along with their Senior Citizen ID, Booklet, and prescription! However, as suggested by many, maybe, the SK members should go to each house and ask for their requests instead of going to the Barangay. This way, we can help flatten the curve by minimizing activities outside home. 

Should COVID-19 be lifted soon, pharmacy on wheels could be a great mainstay for communities.

  1. Providing Shuttles

In some places or companies offer free shuttles or transportation for their employees. They really offer rides, shuttles, or carpools for free to minimize the carbon footprint or to help those people who don’t have mobility. Mitsubishi Motors, Toyota Motor Philippines, and other brands have also reached out by providing transportation to our frontliners and health workers. Maybe, this could be a permanent initiative of the LGUs to help its residents. This could also provide work for the jobless and/or opportunities to its residents. 

  1. Social Distancing

Be honest: some people don’t respect our personal space, especially, when standing in line to order food, coffee, withdraw money, just anywhere! Sometimes, you can already feel the heartbeat of the person behind you! Social or physical distancing can be a game changer for everyone!

  1. Online Meetings / Work from Home 

Essentially, work from home is interesting and can alleviate other problems such as commuting (no more petrol and toll expenses), money, among other things. While it could also intensify mental, emotional, and physical stress, there are countless benefits of working from home or having online meetings instead of tiring yourself by commuting. One is you get to eat for free. Two, you get to save up for fare. And, the list goes on and on.

Ultimately, you will have more time for yourself, for your family, and would help rekindle your love for other things like vegetable gardening, baking, cooking, or anything that will make you a happier person!

  1. Proper hygiene etiquette (handwashing)

According to Science, it takes an average of two months for a new behavior to become automatic. With or without a virus pandemic, we should wash our hands regularly and turn it into a habit, shall we? Proper handwashing must be implemented especially after sneezing, coughing, or picking your nose! 

  1. Wearing a mask, especially, when you’re sick

We started wearing a mask when the Taal erupted. As we all know, ashfalls have bad effects on our health. So, the city government of Tagaytay was strict and generous in giving masks at that time. Essentially, we also wear a mask when someone is sick at home.

This is to prevent the spread of the virus. Therefore, wearing a mask saves lives. So, I hope we continue to wear a mask even after this pandemic. 

  1. Extension of bill due dates

Saving the best for last! Extending due dates is one of the best initiatives our government has done during this COVID-19 pandemic. As a mom of four, extending due dates is extremely helpful. But why should we wait for a pandemic to happen just so we can adjust a “system-generated” bill? Companies must consider extending due dates even after the quarantine is lifted. Not only will it help middle-class earners, but it will also help low-income earners to catch up with their bills and other responsibilities. 

Amidst the uncertainty of CoVid-19, we still manage to laugh, smile, and be optimistic. Truthfully, this pandemic has given us many takeaways. 

COVID-19 is a serious virus that unleashes everyone’s capability, creativity, and resiliency. We never knew how capable we were in learning a new habit of disinfecting until we were forced to do it because it can literally save lives. We became creative in how we can keep our family intact from the boredomness. A simple gesture of respecting our wild animals and our nature, could’ve saved us all.

Our resiliency is once again put to the test on how we can bounce back from this battle with a bunch of complexity thinkers.