THE government has been saying that the coronavirus that causes the disease called COVID-19 will be with us for some time, and that there will be changes in social and individual behaviors to cope with the “new normal.”
But what exactly is this new normal? How will it impact on our daily lives? What will mass transportation look like when it opens? How do we implement social distancing? How many people will comprise a “gathering” — will it be like in the UK and in Sweden where a “gathering” has a limit of 50 or less individuals?
There are many questions that baffle the mind of the average citizen. And the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) managing the government’s official response to the COVID-19 pandemic has no easy, cut-and-dried answers just yet.
This is the reason why Sen. Nancy Binay yesterday urged the Inter-Agency Task Force to hasten crafting an “easy-to-follow” guide book that would help the public adjust to “new normal” practices once the enhanced community quarantine is lifted on May 15.
Binay said such exit plan is needed to manage people’s expectations of how the government responds to the COVID-19 crisis.
We are asking the people to embrace the new normal. But this begs the question: are the government and the private sector ready for the new normal?
The senator said a comprehensive, yet easy-to-follow “blue book” for the public, local government units (LGUs) and essential businesses in the private sector would serve as a guide on what to do and expect once the ECQ is relaxed or lifted in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
It’s about guiding the public on what to expect once restrictions in traveling and going to work are relaxed, and how to manage people’s expectations.
What Binay is proposing is for the government to reach out to the people, especially the poor who do not have access to the internet, to explain what to do after the ECQ.
The publication can even be in an illustrated format that can serve as a handbook for public transport operators, building management firms, schools, restaurants, hotels, shops, amusement and entertainment centers, the lady senator said. She added that the government should have released by now infomercials on TV and social media, downloadable pamphlets, and posters about the expected changes in a new normal world.
If the IATF has a roadmap in transitioning to the new normal, the Filipino public has the right to know, and to know in advance.