Tips to prepare for the end of lockdown

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Published 2020-04-27 10:00

With more than 2.9 million positive cases around the world and more than 200,000 deaths, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many countries into lockdown. Having overcome the health crisis, these countries are now preparing for a gradual economic and social recovery. While this sounds like good news, post-lockdown planning is even more important to avoid resurgence. Here are some tips.

In most countries, deconfinement is taking place in different stages. While countries like Italy and Spain, are being more vigilant, gradually easing their strict safety measures, others, like Austria and Denmark are opting for a more dynamic process. In Austria, for example, shops and boutiques welcome are opening this week provided their customers wear a mask. Shopping malls and hairdressing salons are expected to open by the end of the week, and hotels and restaurants will start operating in mid-May. However, sporting events, as well as concerts and other public gatherings, remain prohibited until the end of June. In the Czech Republic, shops selling leisure products and construction materials are also opening this week. While sporting events are still prohibited, people are now allowed to go cycling or jogging. That should be good news if you were waiting to lose those extra pounds you've gained during the lockdown.

How to prepare yourself as an expat?

Go back to your routine

For many, the past few weeks in lockdown have been quite boring. Time to buck up now! Try to wake up earlier in the morning and to get back to your routine, as if you were resuming work. Keep yourself busy during the day rather than spending hours on the couch watching TV or playing online games. Try to do some of your regular activities and keep the same rhythm for a couple of days until the end of lockdown. If you have children and have been homeschooling, get your spouse or partner to help, without turning your back on your responsibilities. Try to establish a learning program and let them manage by themselves while paying attention to their needs.

Stock up on essentials

At the end of lockdown, you are the most probably likely to go shopping. Consider buying mainly essential stuff like hygiene products and food, including fruits and vegetables that will help boost your immune system. Now is not the time to shop for that little red dress or those sports shoes you had been shopping for. Also remember to make your stock of personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, medication, etc. You will be needing these before going back to work. If you are a regular smoker or drinker, it might be the time to drop your habits for health-sake.

Budget, budget, budget

In many countries, such as Canada, there was a cut in the salary of workers of various sectors during lockdown. Today, still, many are unsure about their respective jobs due to the economic slowdown. It's therefore important to budget, even if you are tempted to go out and get everything you have been deprived of during lockdown - dining out, take away meals, a new haircut, etc. To save money, make your own meals, for example, and try to buy local produce as far as possible. The cost of imported products is likely to go up, given the current global economic slowdown. For expats, rents is another significant expense. While some homeowners are being indulgent with their tenants, you might still be stressed, especially if your job is at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Think of an alternative. Contact your bank to see whether you might be eligible for a loan to help you settle your rent. If you are a freelancer, don't miss a single opportunity or making a few more pounds, especially if you've run out of savings.

Put safety first

Avoid going to public places for now, even if restaurants and shops are opening little by little. Keep in mind that social distancing is the key to avoid getting contaminated, taking into account that public transport, supermarkets, etc., are high-risk spots. Make sure to wear your mask at all times, even if you're not sick, gloves, and to have hand sanitizer. For those who like keeping fit, avoid rushing to the gym as soon as lockdown ends. Yes, you have probably put on some extra pounds during the past weeks, but gyms are also high-risk places. Consider taking a walk around your neighbourhood or running at the nearby park.

Regarding work, check whether you can keep on working from home for a few more weeks. In case you have to go back to the office, avoid being exposed to air-con. Most importantly, no matter how happy you may be to reunite with your friends, colleagues or family, keep social distancing as a good practice. Do not shake hands, hug or kiss on the cheeks.