Lebanon’s Prime Minister has announced today that the government will proceed to “partially re-open” the country as of Monday, while Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi issued a memo detailing the rules to be followed as the country reopens.
To sum things up:
– Night curfew will begin at 7PM
– License plate-based driving restrictions will still apply.
– The majority of businesses in the public & private sectors will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity until 6 or 7PM.
– Shisha will still not be allowed in restaurants and cafes.
– All educational institutions, sport clubs and courts, gyms, beaches, seaside corniches, public parks, malls, cinemas, gambling halls, nightclubs and pubs will remain closed.
To be honest, and given that we avoided the worst-case scenario so far, let’s put aside the blame game for a second and focus on what matters in the coming weeks. Whether you agree with the decisions being taken by the Health Minister or the Interior Minister, it is important to abide by the below guidelines until further notice:
– WEAR YOUR MASKS!
Masks will not fully protect you from getting infected, unless you have a stock of medical-grade respirator masks and know how to carefully put them on and take them off. However, you can prevent transmission to others by wearing it, and this is crucial at this point. If we lower the likelihood of one person’s infecting another, the impact is exponential, so even a small reduction in those odds results in a huge decrease in deaths. [Read More]
This has also proven to be an effective way to prevent the spread of the virus. Whether you’re in an elevator or on the sidewalk, inside the supermarket or walking to ur car in a parking lot, make sure you keep a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others, as much as possible.
AVOID CROWDED PLACES:
Don’t rush to your everyday Shisha cafe as soon as the lockdown is over, and don’t plan a beach party as deconfinement begins. In other words, don’t be an idiot, because you might put your parents’, friends’ and close ones’ health at stake. You can plan a small family outing, a weekend getaway at your mountain house, but no BBQs and mingling with the whole village for the coming 2-3 weeks at least.
The most challenging part about COVID-19, aside from the obvious health risks, is its rapidly intensifying impact on jobs and the economy as a whole. Lebanon is already facing its worst economic crisis in decades, so people are desperate to go back to work. While certain jobs are riskier than others, it is important to apply the minimal safety guidelines, such as wearing masks, gloves, washing frequently, keeping distant when possible etc …
BE NICE TO WORKERS:
If you’re out at the supermarket, a retail store, a restaurant or a nearby grocery store, be patient with the staff, the cashiers, the waiters, the salespeople as they’re the ones at highest risk of exposure to coronavirus. Be nice, be friendly and tip them well if you can afford it.
All in all, don’t expect much from the authorities, because this is an unprecedented pandemic that all countries are struggling with. Let them do their thing, which is almost always never enough, and assume that every person around you has the virus. Times like these call for a collective responsibility and a collective mindset, for each of us to do our part.
Wear your face mask, apply physical distancing, stay cautious, avoid crowded places, and more importantly spread awareness to encourage the largest number of people to comply with the recommended behavioral changes. Let’s not forget that overloading our health system is a disastrous scenario for a country like Lebanon.
Last but not least, a special thank you today and everyday to all health heroes for their never-ending dedication and devotion.