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Home > Article > A Safety Guide for the PSBB Transition Period

A Safety Guide for the PSBB Transition Period

Nadhif Seto Sanubari

11 June 2020

With the latest rules established by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan just last week, public spaces such as stores, offices, and houses of worship are slowly but surely having their doors reopened. Restrictions and regulations previously enacted on public transport and online ride-sharing services are being eased concurrently. This may make you feel like the lockdown has been lifted, you can finally leave after months of being cooped up in your homes and return to your daily activities as you did before the month of March. While this is true, in part, we aren’t exactly out of the woods yet. Remember that the public spaces and transports are allowed to operate but on a 50% capacity level, meaning that while activities are gradually returning to normal, we are still taking cautious steps. 

We should treat this opportunity as a trial period or a test that we must pass, which the results will show whether we will be able to truly return to our normal daily lives. This first ‘trial period’ is the first phase of the transition plan explained by Governor Anies, and will take place throughout the month of June. If we do well, and this reopening doesn’t cause any major spike in COVID-19 cases, we will proceed to the second phase in which even more public facilities will return to operation. Our discipline and how we behave in public spaces in the coming weeks will be detrimental to whether or not we ‘pass the test’. So what can you do?

Is It Worth It?

This should always be the very first question you ask yourself before you decide to leave the house to do whatever task you need. Do you absolutely have to go? Are there other ways to complete this task without going out? It is true that going out is not prohibited, but staying home is by far still the safer option where you are much less likely to spread or be exposed to COVID-19. Especially if you are feeling under the weather, then definitely do not go out in public as you are both more vulnerable and more likely to spread the virus if it turns out that you have it. If we want to pass this transition period smoothly, the safer option is almost always the better one. 

Luckily though, we live in a time where many things can be accomplished without leaving the comfort of your own home. Do you really need to go out to eat at that restaurant? Or could you just order it online? You could even do some risk assessment without ever leaving the house. Through services provided by the Jakarta COVID-19 Response website and the JAKI app (downloadable through the Google Play Store and App Store), you can look up the number of cases in your immediate area. If you find that your neighborhood or your destination has a relatively high number of positive COVID-19 cases, perhaps it is wiser to stay indoors for the time being. Before stepping out, always remember to ask ‘Is it worth it?’

Things You Should Always Bring

If you insist on going out or absolutely have to, there is nothing wrong with being prepared. The following items are those that you should always have on your person before you leave. Create a mindset, think of them like you would your wallet, phone, or keys. 

  1. Mask

The first one should be obvious, and should already be on your face when you step out of the house. Wearing a mask prevents water droplets from being expelled from your mouth or nose into the air and inhaled by another person, which is how the coronavirus jumps from one person to the next. Three-layered reusable cloth masks are recommended, and it is a good idea to have at least two of these at home so you can continue to wear one while the other is being washed. Remember to wash them regularly.

  1. Hand Sanitizer 

You should always have a bottle of hand sanitizer handy, preferably one that contains at least 60% alcohol. Other than water droplets from the mouth or nose, your hands are also capable of carrying the virus. Always keep them washed and cleaned. Every time you interact with something that would be touched often such as doorknobs or stair railings, remind yourself to wash up immediately after. It is still best to wash your hands with running water and soap, of course, but in the event that a sink is not readily available, hand sanitizers are the next best thing. 

  1. Antiseptic Tissue and Disinfectant

Other than cleaning yourself, you might also want to think of cleaning your surroundings. Along with the hand sanitizers, carry a pack of antiseptic tissues that you could use to wipe down surfaces. Another alternative would be normal dry tissue and a bottle of disinfectant. When you’re at a table in a restaurant or at your desk in the office, remember to use the tissue to clean them up first before settling down. Certain establishments may already have protocols to sanitize the tables, but it’s better safe than sorry.

  1. Personal Items

Lastly, to avoid using items that are usually shared in public, it is preferable to bring your own. Utensils such as spoons, forks, and reusable straws can be easily brought along from home instead of using the ones provided by the restaurant with greater risk because it has been used by a lot of people before you. By bringing your own, you can rest easy knowing that you’re the only person who uses them and greatly diminishes the risk of spreading or contracting anything. For the same reason, bring and use your own prayer mats when praying at the mosque. If you like to read a holy book while in the houses of worship, it is better to bring your personal Quran or Bible and avoid the copies they might already have at the mosque or church.

What to do in Commute

Once you have got all your essentials squared away in your bag, you’re now ready to leave. But how will you get to work or wherever it is you need to be? Now that restrictions on transport are being lifted, online ride-sharing services have become an option once again and it is the more recommended one if you are not able to use a private vehicle. These services only require you to be in near proximity to the driver. If you are using an online motorcycle taxi, you should make sure to use your own personal helmet and refuse the one provided by the driver. Keep your mask on throughout the whole journey.

Though not recommended, you could also take public transport like the bus or train. This option demands a lot of people be standing or sitting close to one another in an enclosed space, thus it poses a relatively high risk for exposure. If you must take public transport, the first thing you can do is to adjust the time of your commute. Change when you commute to less busy times if possible while adjusting it to your work hours. If you find the bus or train to be packed, it is better to wait for the next one. Being a little late to work is preferable to endangering your own and other people’s well being. 

While inside the transport, always keep your mask on and keep a distance of at least one meter from any other passenger. The bars where you have to hold onto to keep balance in the bus or train is definitely the most often-touched surface. If you cannot avoid touching them, try to use the antiseptic tissue or disinfectant to sanitize them first. Once you get off the bus or train, wash your hands with hand sanitizer immediately, even better if you can use water and soap.

Using these tips and tricks hopefully, we can go through this transition period smoothly and wisely. If we keep our discipline and practice these simple actions as well as reminding others to do the same, we may just pass this ‘test’ with flying colors and before long the world will reopen its doors and we can safely return to our normal routines.

Transition Period

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Nadhif Seto Sanubari

Penulis dan penerjemah alumni Universitas Bina Nusantara, dengan pengalaman internasional di University of Bradford, UK dan Deakin University, Australia.

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