Just because we’re under an enhanced community quarantine doesn’t mean we can lower our guard and not be careful when we go out. In fact, I believe that anything can happen during these volatile times, so it’s important to be as cautious, maybe even more so, now. This is especially true for those who do not have private vehicles such as myself, because public utility vehicles have been suspended and we have to walk when going out to buy essentials.
Here are 8 simple tips to remember when going out. Keep in mind that it’s best to stay home and to only step out when absolutely necessary.
1. Stay updated with the latest news from your local government unit and the national government
Each local government unit may have their own rules so it’s best to stay updated with what your city is doing. Thankfully, social media has encouraged public leaders to stay active on platforms, where they can post important updates. My city’s Facebook page is filled with reminders, updates on the number of cases, the villages they have sent cash and relief goods to, and numbers for us to call in case of emergencies. It’s also a good idea to stay updated with news on the national level. Most importantly: do not patronize, believe, and share unverified news from unreliable websites.
2. Keep all important numbers in case of emergency
Have a copy of national hotlines and city-wide hotlines in case of emergency. You’ll never know when you’ll need it!
3. Know your rights
Even under the enhanced community quarantine against the #COVID19PH pandemic, you are entitled to your civil and political rights, due process and constitutional safeguards.— Karapatan (@karapatan) March 23, 2020
When arrested/invited or placed under custody, remember—stay calm and assert your rights. #KnowYourRights pic.twitter.com/RUKSZN50Ve
These are crazy times and I admit, sometimes the news of what’s happening scares me. Given that, it’s important to know your rights. I found this tweet of the things you have to remember if you are arrested, or invited or placed in custody. They are shared by Karapatan, an organization that describes itself as “defending and advancing people’s rights in the Philippines.”
4. Be alert
Always be alert of your surroundings when walking even if there aren’t a lot of people on the road. The curfew hours are from 7AM to 7PM, so try to be home before sundown.
5. Keep all your valuables in your bag
It’s advice that we’re always told pre-quarantine and it’s important to still practice that. While you’re practicing that, remember to observe social distancing. Stay at least six feet away from other people.
6. Always let people know where you are
This is especially true if you live on your own and no one is expecting you at home. Let friends or family know where you’re going, where you are at timed intervals, and when you’re home.
7. Go cashless
You never know what’s going to happen or who you’ll meet when you’re out, so go cashless when transacting at the grocery or convenience store. I personally find it scary when I am out in public with a big amount of money because I could be the victim of a holdupper or a pickpocket. A few years ago, a man held me up at knifepoint on a bus on my way home, and on three separate occasions, my phone and my iPod were stolen by mandurukot (pickpocket). I now live the dukot-free lifestyle because I use GCash for many transactions. It offers a scan-to-pay option, where you can settle your bill with just your smartphone. It’s easy to use: simply scan the QR code of participating establishments using the GCash app.
Another benefit of going cashless is not touching bills and coins, which are passed around by dozens or hundreds of people. You never know who touched that bill you have in the last few days. It could be someone with a virus.
8. Sanitize everything
Once you get home from your grocery run, sanitize every single thing even before entering your home. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, the coronavirus can live on surfaces. Like what I mentioned, imagine how many people touched that can of tuna before you brought it home. To properly disinfect your groceries, Dr. Gupta advises everyone to wipe each item with any household cleaner. I personally use wet wipes and some alcohol.