PUBLISHED May 30th, 2020 05:00 am | UPDATED June 16th, 2020 07:03 pm
As Singapore’s circuit breaker progressively lifts, you might be venturing forth for essentials like food, groceries, and even haircuts a lot more. Now, more than ever, is the time to step up our personal safety game – so that transmission rates stay low and the far-off dream of Phase III might become reality. A little safety savvy goes a long way, so keep yourself – and everyone around you – healthy with these simple self-protection measures.
Check The Crowds
No need to rely on guesswork – these real-time maps can help you scope out the crowd sitch at your nearby mall or park. An islandwide map created by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Space Out shows the current crowd levels at major malls and supermarkets, and even tracks recent trends throughout the week. It’s a nifty tool to plan your grocery trips for maximum safety and minimum queue-waiting.
If your goal is fresh air, beat the park crowds with NParks’ handy Safe Distance portal. This real-time map similarly shows the level of visitorship in parks across Singapore, so you know when the coast is clear to head down. You’ll also find updates on any facilities closed within the park, such as fitness corners.
Plot Your Route
While leisurely window-shopping is one of life’s great joys, now just isn’t the wisest time to do it. If you’re hitting multiple shops at the mall, plan your route so you can get everything you need on one level before moving on to the next. And if you have a hefty grocery list, try to chart your path through the aisles so you won’t need to continually criss-cross the supermarket. The name of the game is to cover the shortest distance possible – in the shortest time.
Even if you’re just popping out for food, don’t be shy about bringing along the big guns – hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, tissues, and so forth. Break out the hand sanitizer after you’ve touched high-contact surfaces like lift buttons, bus seats, door handles, and escalator handrails. Experts recommend that you cover your hands thoroughly with sanitizer and rub for 20 seconds – juuust enough time for a rousing chorus of Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’. As for disinfectant wipes, save these to wipe down surfaces you’ll be handling for a while, such as shopping carts and baskets.
Hands Off Your Face
Stop touching your face – it’s the advice that’s been drummed into us by everyone from our parents to the World Health Organisation. Since our itchy fingers touch so much else, we risk transferring viruses from contaminated surfaces to our eyes, noses, or mouths. Kicking the habit is easier said than done, though – we touch our faces an incredible 23 times an hour on average, usually without being conscious of it. Wanna bet that you’ve touched your face at least once since you started reading this article?
Thankfully, it’s easier to be mindful of this now with a face mask in the way. If you find yourself still reaching for your eyes and face, try using a scented lotion on your hands to trigger that mental nudge. Over time, you’ll be able to train yourself out of the habit.
Keep Your Distance
We’ve got safe distancing stickers sprinkled everywhere from train seats to cashier lines, but it’s the in-between spaces that we need to stay mindful of as well. If someone else is browsing, say, the cup noodles at the supermarket, it’s best to wait for them to move aside rather than lean right over them. And if you’re jogging in the park, be sure to keep at least a two-meter distance between you and your huffing, puffing fellows. Contentious new research has even suggested that a runner’s respiratory ‘slipstream’ can be as long as 15 meters.
Talk about dirty money. We’ve always known that cash is a playground for germs, and according to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 may linger on the surface of banknotes for days. If you aren’t already going cashless, make the full switch to more germ-free modes of payment like mobile wallets and cards. With contactless payments catching on even at hawker stalls and coffee shops, there’s no better time to cash in on the e-payment revolution.
Wash Your Hands Once Home
Nothing beats good ol’ fashioned soap and water – the first thing you should do once you get home is wash your hands thoroughly. While you’re at it, it doesn’t hurt to change your clothes and swab the outside of your bag with alcohol wipes either. Studies have shown that the coronavirus can persist intact on surfaces for as long as 72 hours.
Take Off Your Mask Safely
Wondering how to dispose of your trusty, possibly germy face shield? If you’re using a disposable mask, the best way to do it – after washing your hands – is to fold it in half inwards, so that the inner lining is no longer exposed. Fold it over a couple more times, wrap it in tissue or scrap paper, and then toss it in the bin. If yours is the reusable sort, on the other hand, it doesn’t get much more complicated either. Simply give your mask a scrub in soapy water after every use, and leave it out in the sun to dry.
Top Image: Urban Redevelopment Authority