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How To Prepare A COVID-19 GCQ Kit

These days, less is truly more. Less trips out and less things to bring, but ultimately, more safety!

Welcome to the 'GCQ' or the General Community Quarantine. Basically, what this means is that the rigid rules and regulations that were ordered the past two to three months will get a little more flexible, allowing more movement for all. Businesses that were once shut down such as textiles and apparel, optical shops, repair and maintenance, delivery of essential and non-essential items are allowed to operate at 50%, while business such as media, agriculture, banks, food manufacturing, and telecommunications are now allowed to operate at 100% capacity.


While mass gatherings are still prohibited, clothing shops, hardware stores, barber shops, salons, spas are now back to being open, but restaurants are only allowed to handle delivery and takeout transactions. What does this mean for all of us? Sure, we can step out freely, but that sure doesn't mean we should leave responsibility behind at home.


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The novel Coronavirus is still looming above our heads, with a whopping 18,997 total cases in the Philippines as of press time. Each day that passes, we hope and pray for cases to gradually slow down and fade out, but the truth of the matter is—we are still far from totally flattening the proverbial curve.


As this causes much distress, and while things are still far from 'safe', our lives must definitely go on, especially for those businesses that are in dire need of an income. It then lies upon our own individual responsibility to ensure that if and when we step out of the house, we are armed with the knowledge on how to be a sensitive, cautious citizen, taking part in the solution, and not the problem.


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Preparing a GCQ Kit

It was my first time to leave the house in almost three months last weekend, and the immediate realization I had was: as much as you want to cover up and bring a lot of 'armor', the best way to go these day is the 'less is more' route. I made sure to wear comfortable clothing for a full day of errands, wearing a t-shirt, leggings, and sneakers, plus the COVID-19 essentials—a face mask (I double masked with a surgical mask as my outer mask had a valve), clear eyewear, and a tiny sling bag. 


I decided to forego my necklace, watch, bracelets, and rings, and wore my favorite hoops instead, which later on proved to be a hassle—so in reality, the less you're wearing, really, the better. Have this in mind: whatever you bring out with you, you end up having to disinfect and sanitize the moment you get home. Basically, now is not the time to wear lots of accessories or anything too frilly or complicated to clean (among other unnecessary stuff). If PPEs are your choice of clothing these days, by all means, go ahead! 


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Almost every establishment I went to like the drug store, supermarket, coffee shop, and personal care store had temperature checks, quarantine pass checks, and alcohol sanitation protocols upon entry, but to be safe, make sure to carry a reliable 70% isopropyl alcohol in your bag, tissue for when you wash your hands, and a tiny bar of soap if you may (the restroom I went to was running low on soap, so I made a mental note to carry one myself; also to prevent having to touch the dispenser). 


Included in my kit were just a few pieces of cash, (don't carry around huge bills to avoid having to take change from outside) my debit card, my own pen, and my phone. I didn't even bother bringing any makeup or even lip balm for retouching, as I didn't want to take my mask off while I was out. 


The bottomline is: there is no perfect kit for the GCQ and beyond. What we should keep in mind is to stay on the path of safety—to not leave the house unless absolutely necessary, and to observe proper safety measures if and when you are out.


The GCQ is by no means an excuse to loiter around outside or to go on leisurely trips to the mall. The time will come when we will be able to do that again, but for now, take care, stay mindful, stay responsible, and stay healthy!


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