We shall soon return to our usual workspace under "new normal". We shall probably enter office after a body temperature check, sprayed through the disinfection booth, wearing face mask and gloves.
The workstations have possibly been rearranged keeping a 3 feet distance from each other; the meeting room, possibly redesigned relocating the chairs in a classroom-style from the earlier set of "next to each other" around the large conference table.
The lunchroom is possibly restricting no more than a certain number of diners at a time; tea/coffee service perhaps made 'self-service' only. There will be plenty of signs advising washing hands with soap. More to the change, "work from home" is a welcome option. Sadly, a few of our colleagues may not join again being victims of Covid-19. May their souls rest in eternal peace.
As we restart life, strategy for revival of small businesses under appropriate conditions must be introduced. Hundreds and thousands of our people earn their livelihood from corner shops, food court, deliveries, personal care, makeover salons, café, restaurants and more.
We cannot leave them out.
They should be organised under Covid-19 compliant safety conditions. The makeshift restaurants "behind the building" and food stalls may introduce "take away" instead of crowding and table service.
Food should be packed and delivered in paper-packs, payment made by electronic mode as far as possible or paid in the exact amount of cash. Seating in cafes and restaurants must maintain the social distancing rule. Salons may introduce body temperature check strictly; imagine the risk the hairdresser encounters serving the number of people in a day.
Disinfection and sterilisation of equipment should be made a rule. Similar rules are expected at gym and health centres.
Disruption on a large scale is feared in the tourism and aviation industry. We were unkind to the ecology around our beaches and tourist sites. Until recently, over half a million people on average flocked to Cox's Bazar on any weekend much more than the capacity it could cater.
Hotels/motels, restaurants, shops, and markets sprang up in a most unplanned manner along the shoreline, littered badly. It's time now to rectify the ills. Overcrowding must be avoided in any tourist destination. Control on the number of visitors may be introduced using by pre-booking, absolutely no entry unless a reservation has been made.
We can follow the likes of "on arrival visa subject to the confirmed booking of accommodation" practiced in many tourism destinations around the world. Covid-19 has probably struck the severest blow to the aviation industry.
According to industry experts, normal travel may not resume until 2023. Travel guidelines issued by authorities insist on the allocation of seats, keeping in mind the segregation process (minimum 25 per cent seat vacant) so that social distancing is maintained.
It requires keeping at least one seat gap if the passengers are not from the same family and last/first one row of the seat vacant for any suspected passengers. There will be strict observance of 'fit to fly conditions' before a passenger board the aircraft.
Observance of social distancing will be most challenging in public transport. In trains and buses, commuters themselves will have to ensure their safety by frequent washing of hands, face mask and maintaining distance from one another. Authorities may make available Hand washing arrangements/hand rubbed at stations, stoppages, ticket counters as much as possible.
Schools should not be as difficult as public places for teachers can direct students to wash hands at regular interval. Seating arrangement may be made somewhat difficult due to space constraints; in this case, classes should be split into logical numbers and more shifts introduced where necessary.
Wet markets and groceries pose higher risks than malls and supermarkets. These markets could be relocated to open places operating in limited hours. Cattle Market, Hats and Bazars in rural areas pose the most difficult scenario. Continuous awareness efforts with strict enforcement of face masks and social distancing should be embedded in their interactions.
The event management industry faces a difficult time; the same is true for the entertainment world. It may be quite some time before we may see again large attendance at events, weddings, and celebrations. Social distancing must be enforced at programmes to avoid unfortunate consequences.
Arrangements for hand wash and spraying disinfectants may be made compulsory at every event. It is difficult to predict how long the virus would keep circulating and affect the way of life. There must be massive effort to counter it. Everyone has a role in this fight. In the words of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, it's everybody's business and we should all contribute to stopping this pandemic.
KAM Majedur Rahman is a banker and former managing director of Dhaka Stock Exchange Limited.