5 days into May and 49 days since the Restricted Movement Order (RMO) began on 18 March. Last week, 29 April, was the first time I left the house after more than a month (since 27 March) because of work responsibilities.
What’s changed in the last month? Here’s a glaring few:
The RMO is now in Phase 4 (29 April to 12 May), which sees more stringent movement controls at each phase since Phase 1 (18 March – 31 March), Phase 2 (1 April to 14 April) and Phase 3 (15 April to 28 April). In Phase 1 and 2, there wasn’t any roadblocks around my usual travel route to work or to get groceries but that changed as Phase 3 brought more roadblock stations, thus when I went out last week, I had to queue for almost an hour at one of them.
Queueing at roadblocks is one thing. And then there is queueing to go inside banks/ supermarkets / you-name-it. The queue is because of the limit of the number of people who can be inside a particular space at any particular time. There are also limited number of hours certain banks / shops are open, thus people queue to utilise their services / buy their products when they are open.
3 Lines on the floor
When there are queues, there are lines of the floor 1 metre/6 feet apart. This is to guide people to queue at a safe social distance away from each other. So you can expect to find these lines at entrances, payment counters, service counters etc. When I see these lines, I tend to question whether they are really necessary. I mean, suuurely by now, people know they should keep a safe distance away from others right? Well, apparently, SOME people really do need these lines as guides – the person in queue behind me before the lines began was standing less than the required distance away. *facepalm* Next time I go out and stand in queues, I may just bring an umbrella and hold it horizontally tucked under my arm pointing backwards – so people don’t come any closer than the safe umbrella distance apart at least.
4 Masks and Hand Sanitisers
Nowadays, it is essential to leave the house with Masks and Hand Sanitisers with you. Some places will not even let you in if you do not use a mask. Hand sanitisers are also provided for customers’ use in banks / shops, although for peace of mind, it’s best to have your own. And use it generously.
Covering your nose and mouth using mask is a necessary precaution to reduce the possibility of getting or spreading (unknowingly as some people have it but are asymptomatic i.e. do not have the symptoms) of COVID-19. But covering yourself from head to toe in full-body costumes as if it were a Hazmat suit however, that is just vanity. Sometimes I wonder if they even work. It would depend, I guess, on what material is covering your nose and mouth and/if microorganisms like the COVID-19 virus can pass through them or not. Simply vanity.
Germaphobia (sometimes spelt germophobia) is a term used by psychologists to describe a pathological fear of germs, bacteria, microbes, contamination and infection. (Definition from here.)
With the constant reminders and importance given lately to hand-washing, covering your nose and mouth when sneezing/coughing and general cleanliness, it is no wonder that people have somewhat become germaphobes albeit at a milder stage. I know I have!
Immediately hitting the showers after coming back home from “the outside world” and washing the clothes that you had just worn (even if it was only worn for an hour outside). Letting stuff from outside (like the groceries you just bought) be exposed to the sun for a bit as a way of “sterilizing” it, or if that is not possible, wiping them down with soap and water (and I have heard some use sanitisers or even bleach). Letting your car sit out in the hot sun to kill any germs that may be in/on it. These type of things.
It’s funny how their germaphobic tendencies and actions (among others) was part of why these characters came off as hilarious. But now, it seems they were right (to some extent) all along eh? Not so funny when you realise you are becoming a germaphobe (even if only slightly) yourself huh?