Life, as we once knew it, will no longer be the same after RMCO; we’ve gathered some of the important steps you’re going to need to follow if you wanna keep you and your family or housemates safe! While the world has now somewhat adjusted to staying and working from home all day due to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, it only makes sense to be well-prepared for the day when life starts to return to ‘normal’, or the new normal at least.
Before full normalcy can actually happen though, let’s talk about the Conditional Movement Control Order (also known as CMCO) which was recently lessened to become the Recovery Movement Control Order (also known as RMCO). Malaysians may be thinking that the danger is now past us, and we can go back to doing what we want or traveling wherever we can, right? With that being said, here’s a list of things you need to remember NOT to do even after the RMCO is lifted, especially if you’re living in a condo or apartment. Owing to the large number of people living together in the same building complex, it’s incredibly important to keep yourself and your family or housemates safe!
1. Getting Into An Already-Crowded Lift
If someone is in a rush to get somewhere, it’s only common to see people wanting to push their way into the next available lift, even if it’s already full. During and after the RMCO, it’s wise to follow the number that has been set (if any) by your building’s Joint Management Body (JMB) or Management Corporation (MC). For example, under normal circumstances, a standard lift would be able to carry a maximum of between 8 to 15 passengers. The JMB or MC could decide to implement a limit of half that number or less so that residents aren’t squashed in and the risk of infection from sharing a small space with many others is minimized.
2. Visiting The Playground
It’s not just the adults who are desperate to go outside for some fresh air and a chance to stretch their legs; the children would be wanting a chance to go out and play in the sun again! Unlike their luckier counterparts who live in a landed property and have a compound to run around in, people weren’t allowed to even visit the facilities floor when the MCO was in effect, let alone use the children’s area. But now, the government has shown more leniency during the RMCO, where the community is allowed to move about freely within the development’s premises only.
So, it’s only natural for both parents and kids to head out for a quick playtime now, but there are precautions to bear in mind. As a parent, you’d need to be hypervigilant that your child doesn’t touch any part of their face at all, until they have a chance to wash their hands and use a hand sanitizer. Also, you’d need to teach your kid(s) beforehand about keeping a safe distance from the other children in the play area, in addition to keeping their face masks on at all times (no ifs, buts, or maybes – would they prefer to be grounded instead?).
3. Gardens/Green Areas
As mentioned above, the adults could really do with some time out in nature before they start losing their mind, even if it means only a couple of minutes a day. Did you know that sunlight is a natural stress reliever and mood enhancer, as it enhances the level of serotonin (a type of chemical that contributes to well-being and happiness) in the brain?
A walk and/or a jog would be just what you need, and as both are not considered to be a form of team or contact sport, this is also allowed during the RMCO. It’s crucial that you practice social distancing (staying at least a metre away from others) if you’re planning to go for either one in the green area or facilities floor, as well as to avoid people who seem unwell (coughing and/or sneezing).
4. Having Visitors Over
Take an online course to learn a new skill or craft, or figure out how to play an outdoor game like bocce ball or croquet. Practice a different language with books from the library, or hit the zoo to learn about a new animal. While we’re sure that some of you may be missing the chance to host tea parties, potluck meet-ups, and the likes, it’s best to avoid having any visitors over during these uncertain times, even after the RMCO has been lifted.
In fact, there are some condos and apartments that still ban the presence of those who aren’t able to prove that they’re residents, in order to keep everyone else safe. You see, if you and your family/housemates have managed to remain COVID-19-free since the beginning of the MCO (18th March, to be exact), there’s absolutely no guarantee that all of your visitors can say the same too.
They may not be sickly, but they could be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. What this essentially means is that they could already be infected yet show no symptoms at all. So, imagine that someone who’s an asymptomatic carrier shows up at your doorstep with a few other people already living in your unit. That carrier could very well be endangering other families and not just your own!
5. Swimming Pool
Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice dip in the cooling waters (you’re paying the maintenance fees to have it anyway), especially when the weather seems to be getting hotter and drier these days? However, this is still a no-no during the RMCO for obvious reasons. Even though the COVID-19 virus spreads easily via respiratory droplets and saliva, while the chlorine and other cleaning agents used in the pool waters kill off the virus, it’s still considered a close contact sport.
As there may be many people (adults and children alike) who could be wanting to use the facility at a time, the decision was made to close off the pools and showers in order to prevent any possible spread. Best to play it safe okay, since people will find it difficult to practice proper social distancing in the waters. Therefore, residents in strata properties should not flout the rules by trying to take a midnight swim, or even blatantly hopping in when it looks like there are no guards around. You may have slipped past the guards but chances are, you’ll get a good scolding from the ever-vigilant residents instead!
6. Gymnasium And Sauna
Another form of a close contact activity (and taking place in closed-off areas too!), gyms and saunas are a popular option for those wanting to work off some stress from work or to burn the extra calories packed on from lunch. However, with the RMCO ongoing, these two areas are still considered to be off-limits. Notwithstanding the fact that there’s not much proper ventilation, every inch of the gym and sauna would be slick with the sweat of many other people.
While the virus isn’t passed along through sweat, think about how you might accidentally touch your nose after touching the equipment or wiping away the sweat from your eyes after using the water cooler (which plenty of people have refilled their bottles from). Since most high-rise properties have closed these facilities until further notice, no sneaking in for usage! Not only would you be putting yourself at risk, but you’d also be putting other people like the cleaners at risk too.
7. Avoid Parties Or Gatherings
While this is true for all Malaysian citizens who’d like to do their part in fighting the pandemic by responsibly staying home, it’s even more so for those who live in stratified properties. The reason for this is because the units can sometimes be as small as 400 sq ft, and built close to one another.
Even though the government has declared that you’re allowed to organize an open house and visit other houses during celebrations (like the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri) – provided there are no more than 20 people at any one time, and it’s within the same state – would you really still want to do that, given the highly contagious nature of COVID-19?
It actually increases the risk of infection, with 20 guests packed into such a compact space. If you think that you can host your party or gathering in the common areas instead, please refrain from doing so. You’d be helping to expand the radius of the virus’ spread!