We all had such high hopes for 2020. It was the mark of a new decade, but 2020 turned out to be a year that no one had expected. It was the year that the world was “introduced” to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, which disrupted our lives and had us facing unprecedented changes in our career, our relationship and our daily routine.
While we look forward to a new year filled with renewed hope, here is a look back at what 2020 was in general.
1. #StayHome and Movement Control Order (MCO)
When the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019, none of us foresaw the catastrophe that would ensue. By March 11, 2020 COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. By that time, there were already more than 118,000 people over 110 countries around the world found positive for COVID-19.
With the number of cases rising at alarming rates, most countries were forced to implement lockdown or partial lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. Malaysia implemented its Movement Control Order (MCO) beginning March 18 as a preventative measure. With all Malaysians except essential workers told to #stayhome during the MCO, many economic sectors halted operation. Many businesses, even some of the biggest ones, were forced to shut down for good.
These had a huge impact on people’s job security, and forced families to spend festive celebrations apart from each other.
As the number of daily and active cases in Malaysia went down, the Government subsequently lifted some of these restrictions and introduced Conditional MCO (May 4) and Recovery MCO (June 10 – Dec 31). Hair salons, tourist spots, entertainment outlets, markets, schools and daycare centres reopened in stages, with stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place.
A resurgence of the coronavirus and new clusters forced the Government to implement an Enhanced MCO, a stricter order focussed on ‘red zone’ areas. This order lasted for 14 days and included roadblocks and temporary shutdown of businesses within the ‘red zone’ areas.
2. Going contactless
Besides COVID-19, 2020 also was hailed as the ‘year of contactless’?
It’s easy to see why. The crisis had shifted the pre-existing consumer trends from paper to mobile and contactless transactions. Before, only germaphobes were concerned about how cash was teeming with bacteria. But with COVID-19, everyone became afraid of coming into contact with anything outside the safety of their home and the majority of us adopted contactless transactions instead of using physical cash.
With the rise of contactless technology, more and more businesses shifted their pre-existing business module to offer online/mobile payment and delivery services to ensure they stayed afloat in 2020. This also saw the rise in food deliveries, online shopping and various other online services. Life became more convenient!
3. Rise in domestic travel
If there was one meme that could summarise 2020 perfectly, it’s this:
The pandemic brought travel to a standstill in 2020, putting a dent in the tourism industry the world over. Passports had no use in 2020, unless one was willing to bear the cost of undergoing COVID-19 testing and go through quarantine in a different country.
With the drastic decline of international travel in 2020, vacationers turned their attention towards local tourism destinations to fulfil their wanderlust. This was by all means no bad thing at all. In fact, it helped to promote the beauty and wonder of our tourism products among local holidaymakers and gave them the chance to discover exciting places in their own “backyard” that they’ve never been to before.
The Sia Sitok Sarawak intrastate travel campaign was heavily promoted, letting residents of Sarawak know that there are many interesting locations where they can explore the beauty of Sarawak’s nature, culture, adventure and so much more. So far, the campaign has been successful in attracting holidaymakers among residents of Sarawak. Up till Dec 9, 2020, the attractive packages garnered more than RM900,000 in sales for 634 tour packages and 3,677 pax.
More info on Sia Sitok Sarawak programme at https://siasitoksarawak.rezgo.com/
4. New normal
If passports had a partner in 2020, it would be lipstick! Seriously, when was the last time you put on a lipstick, since you’re wearing a face mask all the time?
2020 had us all adopting a new normal, including wearing face mask in public places and social distancing. Face masks also evolved into a fashion trend, where some fashion houses took the initiative to create fashionable face masks in eye catching design. Lipstick optional!