Grocery shopping in the time of COVID 19 is like sprint running. That is probably the most fitting description I can think of. The last time I went for a “regular” grocery run was March 15, before the lockdown. However, since the implementation of the nationwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) here in the Philippines, I have only gone out for groceries twice – once in April and once in this month. However, I have gone out of the house to a nearby mini-mart to make quick supplies runs (mostly to replenish some stocks) over the course of the

two and a half months we’ve been holed up in the house.

Both times I went to the grocery, I went with my sister-in-law so we can split the list between us. With two carts between us, we can go down the list faster so we didn’t have to linger in the store. The practice allows us to cut down the time we spend outside the house and exposed to possible infection. This picture below sums up how our monthly grocery shopping looks like.

New Normal in the time of COVID 19?

Pre-COVID 19, we did our groceries once every two weeks. Nevertheless, since we’re still basically in enforced quarantine, we’re regularly reminded to stay indoors as much as possible and only go out when it is necessary. Which is why, as I mentioned in the get-go, grocery shopping in the time of COVID 19 is tantamount to running a sprint. We hop in the car, get in the grocery with our masks on, line up to pay, load the groceries in the car, and drive home. Gone are the days when we could take our sweet time, sometimes even stopping by in some fast food to grab snacks.

Another thing about this whole situation is the wearing of masks. Check me out in the photo. It’s kind of blurry since the car was moving and all. It’s funny how some people scoff at the idea of wearing them, when really, the mask is one of the few things that can save them from the pandemic. I guess these people adhere to the “follow the leader” route given that their government leader/s resist the very idea of wearing a mask.

I am not sure if this will be the “new normal” for us. Despite the lifting of the ECQ and the subsequent transition to general community quarantine or GCQ, there are still things we can and cannot do. Students, senior citizens, and those considered “high risk” are still required to stay home at all times. Only essential businesses can re-open. Public transportation may be allowed to operate but only in reduced capacity, and so on.

For how long this will remain the new normal, no one knows. Of course, I want things to go back to the way they used to be. However, unless they have come up with a potent vaccine/cure for the disease, I will gladly and willingly submit myself to this new normal.

Because my dad’s a senior citizen and we have two young ones at home, we can’t risk being lackadaisical. We need to vigilantly look out for these people under our care, lest we want to expose them to COVID 19. Hence, even if abiding by the protocols mandated by the government is difficult and somewhat stifling, we have no choice.

It’s a good thing I have extensive practice working from home. Heck, I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years already. What I miss is being able to hang out with my friends and family during weekends, going on coffee dates with my girlfriends, and going to our place of worship every Thursdays and Sundays PHYSICALLY. Thank God for Zoom, because even through video conferencing, we’re still able to meet regularly with our church friends, albeit electronically.

Oh well. If this is the new normal, then all that’s left to do is adjust and keep that ray of hope alive that someday, somehow, all these will pass.