Today marks 77 days of lock-down in South Africa. It’s been a long, very long period of social isolation and readjustment. It’s time for our phased return to live life, even if an adjusted version of it.
The Cape Town Office community has remained in close contact during these lock-down weeks. We’ve kept our eyes on the numbers, the news, and how we can start getting back to the office. Safety is of course top of all our minds.
As a community, we’re in the process of putting a checklist together that will undoubtedly change as time goes on, but it’s a solid start. Here are the top lines of our recommended requirements.
- Handsfree sanitizer units
- All members to wear face masks in the common areas
- Close off the communal kitchen
- Members must occupy the same desk, i.e. no hot desks
- Meeting Room access limited to no more than 2 people and for no longer than 45mins
- No visitors to the office
- Each member will be required to wipe their workstations down after each session
For months we’ve taken the advice of all the experts, including the WHO and there is no doubt that social distancing measures have worked. We’ve contained the number of infections and greatly reduced the number of deaths from the virus.
A recent study by a UC Berkeley team published in the journal Nature estimates the global efforts around social distancing avoided more than 500 million Covid-19 infections. What they cannot put a number on confidently however is how many lives that saved, but given what we know, it’s fair to assume a lot.
“The last several months have been extraordinarily difficult, but through our individual sacrifices, people everywhere have each contributed to one of humanity’s greatest collective achievements,” Hsiang said. “I don’t think any human endeavor has ever saved so many lives in such a short period of time. There have been huge personal costs to staying home and canceling events, but the data show that each day made a profound difference. By using science and cooperating, we changed the course of history.”
Perhaps it’s time, whatever your personal view on the data, to take a moment and just consider the extraordinary action we’ve all taken together.
Therefore, since we don’t yet have a vaccine or a known course of treatment, we need to be very careful about how we resume our lives. But, we cannot stay at home forever.
The road to our emotional and economic recovery will be long and there will be setbacks along the way. We don’t know if we’ll be summoned again in the coming weeks to return to our homes. We don’t know how many more of us will lose our jobs and continue to experience reduced incomes. We don’t know how long it will be before we can freely reach out and hug a friend. But here’s what we do know.
We know we are resilient. We know we are resourceful. We know that when we come together as a community, we can make extraordinary things happen.
And we know that the time will come when we can do all the things, we so wish we could do now.
Till then, we remain vigilant and agile.