April 22, 2020
Don’ts and Do’s of the Apocalypse
We all want to get back to normal, or redefine normal and get right to it. But we cannot jump the gun. Or, at least, we should not. With so many leaders across the country, and no cohesive plan between them, the idea of what is best seems to have become muddled. Below are a few tips that might help.
Don’t decide that COVID-19 is a hoax. The fact that no one in your immediate circle has died of COVID-19, or even been infected as far as you can tell, doesn’t mean that the virus is not real, or not reason for concern. Do take COVID-19 seriously. Follow mandates. Wear your PPE properly and proudly. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile, or foot, when it comes to social distancing.
Do keep necessary appointments, but do not sit next to a stranger in the waiting room and chat. (I’ve seen it.) When you do have an essential errand, do consider what you actually need to complete that errand. Hint: it’s probably a driver’s license and a form of payment. Do remember that the more you’re hauling around with you, the more things you have in your possession to pick up and distribute the virus.
Don’t think that you, your business group, or your minister know better than respected scientists what precautions need to be taken, and which can be ignored. Do assume that all precautions recommended by agencies such as WHO (World Health Organization) are valid until proven otherwise, or until they become unnecessary. (Think vaccine. Then think a year from now.)
Don’t believe that a mask will protect anyone if it isn’t covering both a person’s mouth and nose. While we’re at it, don’t believe that a hand washing, no matter how long and thorough, will be of any benefit if the person who exited the bathroom before you didn’t wash theirs as thoroughly. And don’t touch the facet handle to turn the water off after you wash. If it’s not going to shut off automatically, do use a paper towel on the facet handle. Then do mention the benefits of automatic facets to management.
And please, don’t trust that everyone in a public place will respect the rules and hold themselves to high standards regarding hygiene. Definitely do have a plan in place to ensure that your clientele is respecting their hygienic obligations while in your venue. Same goes for staff. But do remember that your obligation is to the safety of your staff first, and act accordingly. Do back up staff firmly and immediately if a customer is making them uncomfortable. Don’t forget that in terms of numbers, they are at the highest risk.
Don’t feel like your business is your entire identity. It’s easy to feel helpless and useless when you’re separated from a job that is important to you, even if temporarily. If you are feeling stifled, if you feel your business is essential and needs to be reopened as soon as possible, or yesterday, still, don’t reopen based on no other authority than the feeling of loss, or panic, or entitlement in your gut.
When you look around and see so clearly that all the businesses need to reopen, that America needs to get back to work, do take a breath and pause to think. Do know that most people agree with that sentiment completely. But please. Don’t take to the streets in protest. Do however, know the value of a good letter (or email) writing campaign. Do realize that working toward safe solutions while abiding by the relevant science is the proper way forward. In service of that, do have discussions and brainstorm plans with others who want America to get back to work. (Just not the others who are out protesting without masks.)
Do understand that living in a society and embracing the advantages that come with that does obligate you to follow rules set in place for the greater good. Wanting to get back to your life, job, your normal isn’t the issue. Being willing to do it with no regard for others is. Don’t proceed as if only you matter. I do believe that most of us get that. If such understanding is beyond your reach, do find yourself a nice patch of deserted somewhere and live off the land. Grow your own toilet paper and electronics. You’ll be able to work whenever you want.
Don’t worry about being overly polite to anyone who feels embracing safety for the good of all is too restrictive or beneath them. Do feel entitled to expel immediately from your venue anyone who chooses not to cooperate with measures meant to protect the best interests of the group.
Don’t feel like this is all about you. Please do remember that no matter how fine you feel, how amazing you are convinced your immune system is, when you break quarantine, there is someone within breath’s reach who is more fragile. Do it for them.
Don’t believe that people who are working are not entitled to the same social distancing and protections as the rest of us. Do keep an appropriate distance even if you are asking for assistance. For those who are still working from the workplace, don’t be afraid to tell a customer to step back. Do know that a life is more important than a bruised feeling.
Don’t assume that because you scanned the headline of one or two articles that say the numbers are falling, that it’s over. It is not over. Do realize that lifting restrictions prematurely will result in a resurgence. And yes, it is restrictive. And restrictions feel like punishment. But they are not. Do remember when seatbelts became mandatory. And the uproar over mandatory helmets for motorcycle drivers. Restrictive? Absolutely. Life-saving? Absolutely.
Do check in with your germaphobe friends. They have been preparing for this moment their entire lives.
Someone please, do explain the salon thing to me.