After disrupting the lives of billions, COVID-19 has prompted to us consider the way we live, work and interact with others. The world needs to be prepared for another massive event like this one. Some innovations and lifestyle changes made during the enhanced community quarantine will probably stick around long after the virus has gone.
No More Big Events and Crowded Places
Say goodbye to music festivals and concerts, grand weddings, birthday parties, religious festivals and other huge events where hundreds flock together. What’s even worse than a party is a tiangge (flea market) where everyone is rubbing against everyone else. 168, Divisorya and Greenhills Theatermall are some classic places where all the fake branded stuff and souvenirs are. Flea markets and night markets are a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
This cataclysmic event can propel e-commerce platforms and cause the subsequent sunset of brick and mortar retail stores in malls. Online shopping apps like Lazada, Shopee, Zalora and BeautyMNL not only offer convenience, but also allow users to compare competitive prices for the same product offered by various sellers. Quality issues are addressed through free pick-up for return and a credit refund or credit card reversal. (BeautyMNL Discount Voucher: “rainacheng”. Get PHP 100 off on your first purchase of at least PHP 1000.)
Concierge and delivery apps like Metromart, Lalamove and Grab have proven to be very helpful in the past few weeks in provisioning and transferring goods. Some supermarkets have also improved their website to enable online ordering and delivery of groceries.
More people subscribe to streaming apps for movies and TV shows like Prime Video, Netflix and i-Flix for their variety and cost effectiveness. A movie ticket is worth just as much as a one-month subscription for unlimited streaming.
Raise your hand if you’re paranoid about where your paper money has been! Online bills payments and inter-bank transfers have been the way to go during the quarantine. Financial Technology companies that developed GCash and Paymaya are finally seeing more adoption as people now see the value in online payment. Cash would be reserved for urgent use or establishments that don’t accept credit cards or fintech apps, and there will be less cash transactions going forward. Keeping less cash in your wallet also minimizes your risk of theft.
More people would have become “Laway Conscious” or “Saliva Conscious” after the quick spread of the infection, being a bit more cautious about sharing a spoon or drinking from the same straw. Better think twice before hosting a boodle fight–a Filipino grazing table involving a large pile of food on a banana leaf with people grabbing food and eating with their hands.
Something simple like sneezing and coughing in public without covering your face will garner stink-eyes from other people, especially in small confined spaces like elevators and washrooms. People would be more considerate by having Face Masks in stock for when they’re actually sick. In some countries like Japan, blowing your nose in public is considered rude.
Work From Home
The enhanced community quarantine has shown us that working from home could be more than just a temporary option, permanently changing the way businesses operate. In the first 2 weeks of the lockdown, it has already proven to increase employee engagement thereby improving productivity. As a long-term solution, this work arrangement can lead to reducing operating costs and eliminating heavy traffic in Metro Manila. This would be such a blessing for people who spend about 4 hours a day on travel. The only challenge will be ensuring Data Security and fast internet in residential areas. If the Philippines can overcome this hurdle, then working remotely can be sustained.
With 14 million people living Metro Manila, the capital of the Philippines has the highest population density in the world. Maybe decentralization is a necessary next step. Remember how President Duterte had this in his electoral platform? Maybe he was right. Metro Manila is just too crowded, which makes diseases like COVID-19 spread like wildfire.
Will SARs-CoV-2 ever go away? There have been a lot of drugs identified that could help alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19, but there’s no official vaccine. The virus could mutate before the completion of human testing. After 2.5 months of lockdown and no new cases for a whole week, Wuhan has reopened its borders. However, people are still cautious when they go out, and with good reason. Who can say how many more waves there will be? We’re looking at 2-3 more lockdowns until 2021 if the virus recurs. (Read: How to Survive COVID-19)
The only thing certain is that COVID-19 will leave a scar that will take a long time to heal in the minds of people. Learning from this ordeal will drive action to be better prepared for the next big thing.