Stressing that life will never be the same until a vaccine is developed to fight the COVID-19 virus, Senator Manny Pacquiao cited the need to create standard hygiene and social distancing protocols which should be strictly enforced to protect human lives.
“It’s sad to think but we really need to have new rules in dealing (with others) once the Enhanced Community Quarantine is lifted,” he said.
“Until we found a cure against COVID-19, our life will never be back to normal. We will have no other right tool than the right care,” he added.
Pacquiao said he would file a bill called the “New Normal Law” which would serve as a code of conduct that provides list of social distancing protocols.
Apart from social distancing, there might also be a need to adopt new guidelines governing certain businesses.
He called on the public to take part on crafting the new normal law to ensure that the whole country will benefit from the regulations while waiting for the cure as experts have been conducting studies.
Pacquiao said there might also be a need to change the way businesses are conducted to minimize the possibility of viral transmission especially in the retail and food business.
The present practice of social distancing inside supermarkets might be enforced even after the ECQ is lifted to avoid physical contact that can jumpstart another contagion.
“Restaurants, eateries and other food businesses might also need to adopt tighter social distancing and hygiene measures to discourage physical contact among customers and at the same time avoid food contamination,” he said.
Old practices in the supermarkets, the senator said, also need to be changed to adapt to the present challenges caused by the COVID virus.
Instead of the usual shopping practices where people flock to the supermarket to buy whatever they want and stay there for as long as they please, the “New Normal Law” might now require people to have a “shopping list” and would be required to shop with a time limit.
Shoppers can also “pre-buy” online so that when they go to the supermarket, all they have to do is to pay and pick them up to reduce any opportunity for a viral transmission. Online shopping can also become the “new normal” to reduce the threat of another pandemic.
Pacquiao said there might be a need now for restaurants to put some sort of dividers for their tables and restaurant staff, especially those working in the kitchen, must be required to have mouth covers at all times.
Public comfort rooms, including those in hotels, restaurants, gasoline stations and similar facilities must be required to be equipped at all times with alcohol or hand sanitizer and hand soaps.
Concerts, parties, basketball and footballs games, and even mixed martial arts and boxing matches might no longer have to be watched “on site” but can just be broadcast live on television. There might be also a need to re-program various television shows that require audience participation.
Churches might also need to observe new protocols in doing services to avoid physical contact.
“In short, itong social distancing ang magiging New Normal sa panahon ng COVID. And I think we cannot enforce this properly without the force of law. That is why I will be pushing this New Normal Law so that we can enforce it and require people to follow it. Ito ay hindi para lang sa kanila kundi maging sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay,” Pacquiao said.
Part of his proposal is the creation of complete communication database for all families nationwide which can be harnessed in the event of another health emergency.
Pacquiao said that this communication database can be used by the State not only in the delivery of important notices and reminders but also in the provision of amelioration support by way of virtual wallets similar to G-Cash, Smart Padala and We Chat./Stacy Ang