As April wraps up, many will breathe a sigh of relief. Economically, it was one of the worst months the world has ever seen. Therefore, the decision by some countries to begin gradual opening of businesses should be a welcome move by all.
The human cost of the coronavirus pandemic has been very high. Nearly 210,000 people lost their lives. This certainly is the ultimate loss. But the virus has also wreaked unprecedented havoc in the global economy.
If we all agree that the economy cannot be suspended for a prolonged period, then we all have to make this process successful and without adverse impact by cooperating with the official rules and following the right health practices
Almost all business sectors have been shut, due to the containment measures enforced by government to combat the outbreak, which eventually led to the decline of most economic activities. Millions of people lost their jobs around the world.
In the UAE, a globalised economy, the business sector has been affected badly like in many other countries. Some of the businesses here have been waiting for Ramadan to make up for the losses.
The month is always a good time for the retail and services sector. The decision to reopen parts of the economy in the UAE, such as shopping malls, therefore is a timely move.
Crossed 3 million mark
While the infection cases globally crossed the 3 million mark, we are no close to developing a vaccine or a reliable treatment. Thus, it is possible that we might have to live with this reality for some time.
So does the economy. It has to adapt to the new reality as it reopens. The consumers too have to adapt. But ultimately, business cannot be shut indefinitely.
But they have to adjust their business practices to ensure the safety of their staff as well as their customers, such as fewer hours, mandatory safe distance between customers, providing face masks and gloves and temperature checks among other things.
These practices will likely be the new norm. If we all agree that the economy cannot be suspended for a prolonged period, then we all have to make this process successful and without adverse impact by cooperating with the official rules and following the right health practices.
The health safety of the society is a joint responsibility. The government has done a great job during this crisis- it has set up state of the art facilities, ensured the availability of testing, regulated the timings when people can leave their homes, and taken all other measures to ensure public’s safety.
However, it comes to the people themselves to stay safe. The reopening of the economy will be a crucial and unavoidable test of that responsibility.