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The repercussions of COVID regulations

One of the most difficult things when making an important decision, it to be able to identify the negative repercussions of your decision, to be able to identify proper coping mechanisms or strategies to deal with the repercussions, and to have ready the resources and capabilities necessary to implement the strategies. This requires an ability to think into different directions, like in a chess game. Some decisions are not as easy as deciding what you will be eating for your breakfast.

It is recent memory that the government has declared a state of energy that lasts for five months to control the spread of the Corona virus in the country. The move is one to be appreciated, of course. For instance, the decision to force people to wear face masks (even homemade) in crowded places like banks, public transporters to operate at half capacity, and shisha and Khat houses to cease operating should be appreciated.

But I also am of the opinion that when some of the regulations were drafted, the drafters have not carefully thought about what these regulations are exactly going to imply if implemented. Take for instance the recently announced regulation that forces private car owners, or owners of Code 2 cars, to drive their cars only every other day based on whether the last number of the car plates is an odd or an even number. When that regulation was first announced, I wondered, ‘what is exactly the aim of this regulation?’ since this was not clearly mentioned on the news. We thought, maybe the aim is to decrease the demand for fuel in the country. That is the only thing that can make sense. But it should have been made clear to avoid confusions and resistance. But the key question I had was, ‘wouldn’t forcing car owners to travel by public transport in those days their cars are not allowed to be driven put extra pressure on the public sector which is already operating at half capacity? Because when car owners are not allowed to drive their private cars, they would had to use public transportation, wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t enforcing this regulation be in complete contradiction with the concept of social distancing and cause further spread of the virus? Now, thanks to this regulation, the queues for taxis and buses are going to be even more jammed up than before. I am not sure if the drafters have thought about this repercussion. For me, it would make more sense to force employers to allow their “non-vital” staff or those staff members that do not need to come to the office every day to come to work, say, twice or thrice a week. This way, people will not be forced to expose themselves to the virus in jammed taxi and bus queues.

Yet another example of a regulation that has a negative repercussion is the one that deprives home owners from asking renters to leave their premises in case of obliging situations should happen. Although this regulation protects the rights of renters such as those working in health centers and those who have lost part or all of their incomes as a result of the outbreak, it also gives right to some renters who would like to use the regulation as an opportunity to delay or avoid payment of their monthly rents to the home owners. This is because they know that they will not be kicked out of the houses they have rented even if they delay or avoid rent payments. What does the regulation say about this? How does the government plan to protect home owners from getting abused by renters if such an abuse is to happen? And besides, in a time where prisons are releasing prisoners to prevent the later from being crowded, abusers know that they will not go to jail for “petty” crimes, therefore creating more opportunity for the flourishing of such crimes.

Long story short, let’s think carefully about what the regulations really mean before we announce them to the public and start implementing them!

Contributed by Tsion Taye
Contributed by Tsion Taye