Adjusting to the “New Normal” | Global Resilience Institute

The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe definitely took society by surprise. As a result, people were forced to social distance, stay home, and close all non-essential businesses. The economy, in the United States, shut down almost overnight and it definitely will not start back up that way. According to the NY Times, politicians and public health experts have argued for weeks over when and how, to allow businesses to reopen and allow Americans to leave their homes. The process will begin to happen gradually, with certain places and industries opening earlier than others. The answer to getting things back to the way they were is far from clear. For instance, how can one factory reopen when its suppliers remain shuttered? How can parents return to work when schools are still closed?

(MICHAEL NAGLE | REDUX) New Yorkers at D​omino Park in Brooklyn, on May 3

May marks a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Across the country, retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses are beginning to reopen. Although this new phase may be exciting and a relief, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the ongoing risks of the pandemic have significantly changed. Andrew Noymer, a public-health professor at UC Irvine, told The Atlantic that if the U.S. were solely concerned with containing the virus, “reopening shouldn’t even be in the conversation” yet. But the concerns of the pandemic have evolved now to whether or not Americans should be able to go back to their regular routines. Because different parts of the country are (and will continue to be) in different stages of their outbreaks, there aren’t any yes-or-no answers that apply countrywide. But there are guidelines that can help you think about the safety of everyday activities, as well as techniques for business owners to apply when re-opening to ensure the safety of consumers. In order to help small and mid-sized local enterprise leaders that are facing even more obstacles than large corporations, due to limited financial resources, the Global Resilience Institute (GRI) has created a digital course “COVID-19: A Practical Approach to Enterprise Restart & Resilience Planning”. This course provides a framework for economic recovery that will help keep suppliers, employees, and customers safe as officials progress with each re-opening phase.

(Michael Ciaglo | Getty) People stand in painted circles, six feet apart, as they wait in a two-hour line to buy products.

Politicians and public health experts urge people to take the necessary and basic precautions as they return to normal activities. People should still wash their hands regularly and thoroughly, use hand sanitizer on the go, avoid touching their face, wear a mask, and stay home if they’re sick but don’t require medical care. Experts are also saying that if people are planning on gathering or going to public places, outdoor areas are usually safer than indoor ones because they have better airing, more direct sunlight, and more room for people to space themselves out. Although none of this can completely mitigate the risk of the spread of the virus, all of these practices can reduce the risk.

People worldwide are eager to get their lives back in control and back to normal. But before even thinking about any daily activities people should inform and educate themselves on how to stay safe and resilient during the reopening process. The Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University, offers a resilience course that provides all the essential information on “COVID-19: How to be Safe and Resilient” which is offered in English, Spanish, and soon in Haitian Creole.

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