Jaqueline O’Donovan on COVID-19 – A new threat   

Jaqueline O’Donovan on COVID-19 – A new threat   

Each day we are reminded of the severity of the world pandemic with updates on the numbers of people affected or dying and everyone to keep adhering to the constraints placed to stop the spread but are people really taking it in or is it just white noise now?  Jaqueline O’Donovan claims that it is abundantly clear that the new threat to society is that of complacency! Her full comment is below.

Every day it is more and more evident; if you look at the numbers of people on roads, in parks and shopping at DIY stores.  Hordes of people queue for hours, two meters apart, to go into a supermarket, only to forget once inside that they still need to keep that distance!

At the start of the restrictions, people were remarking on the damaging effects all the hand washing was having, with their skin cracking or splitting but these comments are less and less as the days pass. Social distancing only seems relevant if there is a marker on the floor. 

In the early days of lockdown, when someone came close and I pointed out ‘I am social distancing’ they would reply ‘oh, sorry, no problem’.  Now some seven weeks down the line, I have had numerous instances where I have been glared at as if I have insulted them!  But what has changed?  The restrictions are still in place but with the passing of time, attitudes and moods have changed for the worse.

The Government have warned us all that there could be a second spike which will result in yet another lockdown.  The fact that so many people are struggling to abide by these first measures does not bode well.  When will common sense prevail?  Surely, it is clear by now that If we do what we have to and stick to the guidelines, we will have a less chance of second measures being introduced.

As a company, we are preparing to slowly bring our staff back to work after lockdown is lifted and I can see already the many restrictions we will have to implement.  Changes will vary from staggered start and finish times to rotated breaks in order to minimise groups of people arriving or leaving together or having to share space at lunch and break times. We know that we will be met with some resistance as people do not tend to like change.

As employers we must seriously consider the health and wellbeing of all our staff and make the necessary adjustments for their needs.  We are already prepared for some, if not the majority of our team to feel vulnerable and suffer with some level of anxiety on their return.  But importantly, we must keep reiterating the importance of hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing again and again. We cannot, as a country, afford for people to become complacent. It must become second nature until such time as a vaccine is found.  We cannot allow all the hard work and sacrifice to be undone.

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