The WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, said that efforts to transition to a ‘new normal’ during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have to follow basic principles of public health. These include aggressive efforts to do isolation, testing, contact tracing, and placement of infected individuals in quarantine facilities. Such measures are already enforced not only in Europe, but also in the U.S., Asia, the Middle East, and other continents where COVID-19 is still a huge threat to public health.
Accordingly, individuals and businesses are slowly making the shift towards the ‘new normal’ where social and physical distancing is observed and face masks and other personal protective equipment for COVID-19 transmission have become part of an everyday outfit. Additionally, there are other ways on how communities around the world are making changes to their daily activities to keep pace with the current health and safety protocols being enforced by government health officials and public safety officers.
Here are six ways people and businesses are transitioning to the new normal:
1. ‘Brewery churches’ a way for the faithful to return to community activities.
The Castle Church Brewing Community located in Orlando, Florida is serving different-flavored beers — from Australia’s Galaxy hops to California’s Cluster Hops — to its congregation in an attempt to make people go out and return to doing their spiritual duties to the Lutheran outpost. The said brewery church is just one of the many novel entities that are using creative, albeit uncanny methods, of making the shift to the new normal situation in light of the ongoing pandemic.
2. Brands and businesses are shifting their physical marketing events to the digital realm.
From Apple’s usually big-deal product launches to Oktoberfest celebrations where beer-lovers congregate in millions across the world, brands and businesses are now regularly making their marketing pitches on the internet. Speaking of Oktoberfest, for example, marketing gurus recently held an event called Droptoberfest, which featured a virtual tour of the finest breweries and California plus craft beer events and talks from industry bigwigs. As businesses try to stay afloat, you should expect more and more events of this kind.
3. Remote work not only for office personnel but for researchers as well.
As the whole world struggles with the challenges posed by COVID-19, office-based workers and researchers have been packing their equipment and bringing them home to establish home offices and laboratories. This relatively radical approach is commendable at best, as it shows just how dedicated these individuals are in ensuring that their duties are not hindered by the ongoing pandemic. This shift to remote work is most likely to go on for quite a while, as the world still awaits widespread vaccination against CVOVID-19.
4. People are turning to apps and websites for much-needed stress management and grief help.
Technology, as always, comes to the rescue when society needs its contribution the most. With people mostly relegated to doing their daily businesses online and with the rapid spike in mental health incidents such as cabin fever and depression, mindful developers and programmers responded with dedicated apps and websites that provide materials on stress management and grief exploration. These handy resources are readily accessible to those who need reading materials that would help guide them towards overcoming their individual struggles concerning the ongoing pandemic when going to grief counselors and psychiatrists is still a risky idea.
5. Telemedicine is now pretty much the norm in healthcare facilities across the globe.
With lockdowns all around and the high risk of contracting COVID-19 by going out and mingling with people, healthcare facilities and their patients are doing consultations in a virtual setting. This ongoing trend called Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to conduct consultations with patients pretty much like face-to-face interactions in a hospital or clinic. And with the way things are going right now, this would pretty much be the norm for at least a year longer until such time that vaccines for COVID-19 become publicly available and accessible to the majority of the world’s population.
6. Companies and businesses are now making themselves more resilient.
If there is one big thing that the COVID-19 pandemic taught businesses and companies all over the world, it’s that they still have much work to do to become truly resilient. In terms of their supply chain and inventories, they are now making great strides toward establishing back-up plans on how to store raw materials or find sources locally. They are also doing a lot of efforts in offering remote work options to workers whose deliverables can be done offsite.
Truly, the shift towards the new normal is a whole-of-society approach and not just dependent on the efforts of a single part of the society. But with concerted efforts and a clear plan, there’s no doubt that everything will go smooth as countries embrace and live in a new reality.