Maintaining more than an arm's length new normal

Hindustan Times Delhi|March 30, 2020

Maintaining more than an arm's length new normal
At a pharmacy ina south Delhi colony, customers were standing outside the store with a one-metre distance between each other on Sunday.
Jayashree Nandi

One of the customers handed over his debit card to the pharmacist but wasn’t allowed to enter the PIN himself. He had to announce the four-digit code to the pharmacist at the counter who made the transaction and handed over the card with his gloved hands.

Another customer wanted the pharmacist to speak to the customer’s employer because he could not pronounce the name of the medicine he wanted. “Please ask your employer to message us. Wecannotspeak on your mobile phone with him,” the pharmacist said. The man appeared puzzled and disappointed because he couldn’t get the medicine his employer needed. Other customers explained to him that sharing phones was not possible anymore because of the spread of Covid-19. There are several such instances of how daily life has changed —one of them being grocers throwing bags of grain at customers to ensure minimal contact.

We will not be the same again after the lockdown lifts. Not only because of the devastating economic impact of the lockdown but because SARS-CoV-2 infections will continue to affect us. The new normal for several months will be to maintain social distance in everything we do, maintain personal hygiene and get used to relatively slow life in cities.

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March 30, 2020