by Jesmond Saliba
We now have a goal. The Prime Minister announced a timetable of one month to reverse most of the Covid-19 measures we have had to live with these last weeks before finally diminishing the radius of social distance.
Health authorities were quick to add that the reality dawning on Monday 4th May will still feel restrictive in comparison with the full-contact, face-to-face normality we are used to. However, the country has suddenly turned the corner into a new phase, and we are no longer enduring the outbreak but managing it.
The three to four weeks ahead are a delicate in-between period that can either make or break our recovery. While most of the heavy lifting until this moment was being done by healthcare professionals, enforcement officers and other players on the frontlines, the wider business community and the general public are now required to contribute in a more active way towards the common target.
On one hand we are being called to exercise more prudence to prevent a second diffusion of the virus. For the first time in five weeks, the number of current Covid-19 cases has dropped below the 100 mark – an achievement that needs to be sustained by responsible precautionary behaviour. Slacking off now would put vulnerable people into even greater danger.
At the same time, though, the country needs to take a sure step outward to relaunch quickly off the blocks. Businesses that are allowed to reopen on Monday, most of them in the retail sector, represent the first signal of confidence in our market. Several voices have questioned the readiness of consumers to hit the shops when household finances are still largely unstable, which is why activity in the coming week will be monitored closely.
But the past month-and-a-half has demonstrated that business ingenuity overcomes even the harshest of conditions and the market is ready to explore propositions that offer real value, especially ones created for the particular time we are living through. We must approach the reopening with confidence and positivity.
The message from the authorities for the new month is to both stay in and go out. The return to success will depend on how long it takes us strike that equilibrium.