Dubai: Scroll through social media at this point in time and you’ll notice everyone sharing photos of themselves at home cooking, making a puzzle, painting or just lounging around in sweatpants.
Before you roll your eyes, it is after all 2020 and if you don't see everyone sharing their daily movements, or lack thereof, on their Instagram then who even are you?
The Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines for something they call “community mitigation strategies” to limit the spread of COVID-19. When a novel virus with pandemic potential emerges, non- pharmaceutical interventions like “social distancing” often are the most effective ways to help slow down the transmission of the virus in communities.
Basically, social distancing is a term that refers to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people, so they can stop making each other sick.
But what exactly does this “social distancing” look like for people who are trying to live a semi-normal life? Have you wondered if you should be going to work? What about if you live alone, is it okay to drive to a friend’s apartment if you are feeling lonely?
If I am officially quarantined, would I be allowed to walk around the neighborhood at night for some fresh air, knowing there would be no one there?
It’s important to note that some drawbacks of social distancing can include loneliness, reduced productivity, and the loss of other benefits associated with human interaction.
However, health experts believe that avoiding crowds of people will be important in slowing the spread of the Coronavirus.
“No sorry, I am social distancing”
The good news is, most residents in Dubai are declining to go out for social gatherings. Instead they go for short supermarket trips or run a quick errand. They go to open spaces like the beach or a running track. But when it comes to birthday parties, weddings, larger events and sometimes office enviornements, many people are 'social distancing'.
The benefits of this down time, is spending quality time with other 'safe' friends or watching TV with family memebers. Seeing your kids more often or just simply relaxing alone.
Social distancing for the workplace
Employers should encourage their staff to telework (when feasible), particularly individuals at increased risk of severe illness.
If employers will not allow their employees to work from home, then businesses should:
-Increase physical space between workers at the worksite
-Stagger work schedules
-Decrease social contacts in the workplace. For example limit in-person meetings, meeting for lunch in a break room, etc.
-Limit large work-related gatherings
-Limit work travel
-Employers should also consider regular health checks (e.g., temperature and respiratory symptom screening) of staff and visitors entering buildings, if feasible.
So what should we never do during “Social Distancing?”
-Large group gatherings
-Mass transit systems like a bus or a metro
-Playdates for children
-Having visitors over at your house
-Non-essential workers in your home
-Trips to the theatre or museums
-Large groups at restaurants or bars
What should you use caution while doing?
-Visit the coffee shop to pick up a beverage
-Visit the grocery store
-Get a takeout meal
-Pick up medicine from the pharmacy
-Play tennis or any no contact sports
-Go to a swimming pool (pools tend to be pretty bug-free thanks to the chemicals in the water)
What are ‘social distancing’ approved activities
-Take a walk in your neighbourhood
-Go to the desert
-Go for a hike in the mountains
-Walk your dog outside
-Play in your yard
-Sit in your balcony
-Clean your house
-Video chat with friends (if your country laws allow it)
-Go for a drive
-Watch your favourite show
-Go to the beach
-Learn free online classes at home
An anonymous 'social distancer' in Dubai shares his thoughts:
"I do not have coronavirus, I have just self-quarantined myself. To be honest, at first it was a bit difficult being completely alone, but after 5 days of this, I feel fine. I am mostly concentrating on work. Every morning after I wake up, I shower and get dressed, not in a suit, but I dress up some how, so that I am in a different state of mind. The one thing I haven’t done is shave my beard.
The challenge of working from home is knowing where to set the boundaries. First of all, I don’t work from my bed or my bedroom. I set up a dedicated “office space”. This is my work area. Lines can be so blurred when you are home. When it is lunch time, I take an hour lunch. When it is six o clock, I stop working and shut my laptop off.
At first, you are always a little bitter about staying home for days on end, but honestly I am making the most of this situation. Everyone should make the most out of the situation. Enjoy the peace and spend more time with your family.
I feel very blessed to have a closed off front yard in my home, so I will take a few moments to read a book out in the sun and feel a bit different.
It is important for people to worry and to be cautious, but we have to remain calm. I am a dad, so I still have to put a brave face on for my kid. They shouldn’t panic either."