No lockdown for essential worker

Pharmacy technician, Gino Sebastian.

Pharmacy technician Gino Sebastian has worked throughout the national lockdown.

And while he knew that the CBD wouldn’t be the same for a long time thereafter, he felt that it was in the best interest of the country to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Working in a retail pharmacy for about two years, Gino helps provide healthcare services and supplies to the public, online and over the counter.

“I love that I can be of service to the public, and working in the city has always been a pleasant experience. I like the general atmosphere of every morning in the city, the way crowds of people move in their respective directions.”

However, the hustle and bustle came to a complete standstill during the national lockdown. Being in healthcare, Gino thought it was in the country’s best interest knowing that it would help slow down the transmission of the virus from person to person.

“It was frightening to know that nothing will function as normal and that I might have to go without so many things, but I felt that it was a wise decision.”

And although Gino was grateful that he was still able to generate an income, he longed for his family, who lives in another city.

“Working in healthcare also meant I could make a difference in the fight against Covid-19.”

Gino said working during lockdown was daunting, especially now that more people are moving around in the city due to the regulations being relaxed.

As for protective gear, the staff at the pharmacy were given face masks, face visors, gloves, hand disinfectant and antibacterial wipes. He says the measures make him feel protected.

“While I’m at work I feel perfectly safe. It is when I’m having to do something normal like grocery shopping that I become a little scared. In the end, as long as we take precautions, wear masks, wash our hands, not touch our face and stay indoors, will we make a difference.”

When the lockdown was first announced in March, Gino said many people became anxious and somewhat frustrated about the fact that their lives would have to be disrupted.

“As pharmacies are open to give advice, we come across a lot of customers who needed to be educated about the coronavirus, and it’s through having a positive mindset and the encouragement of following necessary precautionary measures that reassures the public not to panic.”

He said while it was scary to have all the law enforcement and police around in the city centre, it became a regular sight as the lockdown commenced.

“The atmosphere in town is strange. The number of people outside is less, and it’s quieter, but all the measures put in place is for our own safety.”

Living in Woodstock, Gino travels to work by taxi, which isn’t a long journey.

“It’s definitely one of the most scary things. Every time I’m in a taxi, I think of the amount of people who sat in the same seat and touch the same things I did. Suddenly, no one looks at each other anymore and we just try and maintain some distance.”

He said with the roads being quieter, travelling time was shorter but the trip was interrupted by public transport vehicles being pulled over every morning to ensure that only people who are rendering essential services can enter the CBD.

When Gino is not at the pharmacy, his work follows him home as he manages online chronic prescriptions as well.

He is also a singer and songwriter, and dedicates most of his lockdown time to making music.

He learnt to cook some new meals, too. He also spends time with his housemates, who are his quarantine buddies.

“They’re always busy cooking, lounging and have the most interesting topics to talk about. I got to learn a lot more about them as they’re from different countries and backgrounds.”