Constantly washing our hands, sanitising every surface and avoiding large groups--in the age of Coronavirus, this has become the new normal for us. Medical experts across the globe are calling for people to practice social distancing and self-quarantine in an effort to curb the rapid spread of the highly-contagious virus.
However, we understand that it can be overwhelming to cut yourself off from the rest of the world. If you are working from home and social-distancing with your family members to keep yourself and your community safe, you are already playing a big role in containing the spread of COVID-19. But not everyone has the option and the privilege to do that. So, if you want to do your bit for others while being isolated at home, here's how you can help:
It is a massive privilege to be stuck at home while still getting your paycheck every month. Some people, especially those falling under the low-resource, low-income bracket like domestic helpers, daily wage labourers, construction workers, vegetable sellers among many others, do not have that option. If they stop going to work, they will not be able to feed their families. Unfortunately, their staying outdoors increases the risk of not only them catching the virus, but also spreading it in the community. So if it is possible for you, try to help them out financially till the outbreak is contained--give them some extra salary, buy them masks and hand sanitisers, and maybe even reduce their working days or give them leave with pay. They are the most vulnerable section of our society, and they need our help.
Owing to self-distancing, the food and beverage industry has been hit hard. Cinema halls have shut down, and people are no longer going to restaurants, cafes and bars--and understandably so. Some establishments have also temporarily shut down for the larger good of the society. Wondering how you can help? Well, the easiest way would be to continuing to order take out--this way, at least they can home deliver to you. However, make sure you ask the delivery guys to leave the food/ your order at the door. Besides these options, several restaurants have also rolled out a gift card feature--which you can redeem once this outbreak is contained. Buy as many as you can, because this will help the restaurants pay their employees during the shutdown. Or if nothing else, simply call your favourite restaurant and ask if they're accepting donations.
While we're complaining about being stuck inside our comfortable homes, the people who are making it possible to do this without stepping out are delivery personnel. They are literally risking their own lives by going door-to-door, exposing themselves to all kinds of people just so you can have food delivered to your doorstep. So be mindful of this, and treat them kindly. Tip them generously. If there is a problem with your order, don't take it out on them. These are difficult times, and everyone is trying to do the best they can. We could all use some kindness right now, especially towards the people who are risking their lives for you.
The shutdown has affected not only regular corporate offices but also animal shelters. As employees working at shelters are staying home, animals on the street are not being rescued. Since you will be spending most of your time indoors, this is the perfect time to foster a pet if you've always wanted one! You'll be giving shelter to an animal in need and you can understand what it is like to keep a pet, which will help you adopt one in the future. Plus, what's better than being stuck at home with a cute, furry friend? It's a win-win situation!
This is perhaps one of the most important things you can do. If your loved ones are still going out despite having the option of working from home, talk to them! Tell them that this isn't a paid vacation, and that they are putting other people at risk. Use social media to spread awareness about social distancing and how it can save lives. Also, in this age of fake news and false information, correct everyone who is falling for it. Politely provide them with links to credible sources. Don't let that uncle on the family WhatsApp group send forwards about Ayurveda having a cure for the virus.
This is one of the worst effects of the outbreak. While the need of the hour is to help each other as a community, some people are using this as an excuse to racially discriminate against people. Since the virus originated in China, people are avoiding anyone who looks Chinese and even resorting to calling them names and racial slurs. In fact, a group of students from the northeast recently released a video appealing to people to stop discriminating against them and calling them 'coronavirus'. This is truly heartbreaking, especially in a country like India where our strength lies in diversity. So if you see anyone discriminating against people on the basis of how they look, don't be afraid to speak up and shut them down!
While these steps may seem small and insignificant to you--they might really help someone in need. So do your bit, and remember, every little gesture counts!
Featured Image: Shutterstock
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