I have seen a lot of comments on social media about the new rules of lockdown, as of 10th May 2020, Boris announced some changes to the lockdown and also some changes to the message of Stay at Home to Stay Alert. It’s tough to get your head around this pandemic, so I thought it would be helpful to set out some thoughts on the new rules. A different perspective can be helpful to put your own thoughts into some organised order, or confirm what you thought in the first place. This is my opinion only, of course!
The changes to exercise are that you can now go out more than once a day, you can also drive somewhere to exercise. You can also now visit a local park, with your household, and enjoy the fresh air.
This seems to have caused the most controversy out of the changes to the rules of lockdown. My understanding of this is that people who have been locked up in flats (for example) with no gardens, now have somewhere safe to go and get fresh air. Children who have not been able to play outside for over 7 weeks, will now have somewhere to be able to go and catch a ball or read a book in the fresh air. If you have a garden to spend time in, then it makes sense to me to carry on doing this. As we have a garden, we will not be sitting in local parks or open spaces. We might now drive to a local nature reserve, which is a 10 minute drive, to walk the dogs. A little change in scenery will be refreshing and a sensible choice to drive somewhere local. Driving somewhere for an hour to do a piece of exercise, to me, doesn’t sound like a sensible idea.
I think this update is great as it starts businesses moving again. Some of which have been closed for over 7 weeks. No, businesses were not just expected to open up at 9am (I saw a lot of these comments on Twitter), it’s all about planning to open and doing so when it is safe. I saw a news article of a hair dresser (in Wales I think) that had to wear protective clothing and washing down the chair and tools after the customer. Only a few customers at a time etc. Lots of measures that will take more time to process, but will keep the staff and customers safe. The government are trying to help these businesses by offering guidance to what is safe. Like creating a working pattern, rota for staff breaks and limiting the amount of customers. I know a construction worker who is the only person on the site, he is a carpenter, as to limit contact with the other trades. There are many things that can be done to limit contact and ensure businesses can get back into work.
This is not to punish the skilled workers at all. I saw a lot of comments from people saying that “white collared” employees can sit back at home and the skilled workers are now at risk. This is not the case at all. I can work from home, I am lucky in that respect as my job allows it, but I have to homeschool my children as well as juggle that work. It is not an easy ride by any stretch of the imagination. I have felt anxious and stressed about it for the past 7 weeks for different reasons to other people. My Mum has been at home for the past 7 weeks, as she cannot do her job from home and she has been eager to get back to work and some sense of normality again. My uncle owns a hair salon and had to close it. He feels he is letting his customers down but he has to ensure they are safe and he too. Over the next couple of months he will have to make some tough decisions on how to operate a salon, safely and keep distancing of customers and protection of staff seriously. This will cost money and time to prepare the changes. But, his business could start moving again. Slowly and surely.
If you CANNOT work from home, speak to your employer and have a sensible discussion about how you get back to work.
Do not use public transport unless you really have to! If I was working in the office, I couldn’t cycle to work or catch a bus or train. So driving is the only option for me. Some people do not have their own transport, if you can walk or cycle do that. This makes it safer for those people that HAVE to use it.
My opinion with this is that we all have the message, Stay at home, engrained on our brains. Which hasn’t changed. We still need to stay at home wherever possible. We still need to only leave the house to work, (if we can safely) to shop for food and for exercise. This message hasn’t changed. They have just adapted the messaging slightly to start getting us to think about our awareness of others and what we are doing. Be alert of other people. Be alert of what you touch. Be alert of where you are going. Be sensible in the choices we make. Oh and wash your hands when you touch other objects outside of your home.
There is also a new virus threat indicator which shows us, visually, how the virus looks across the Country. We have been in a level 4 danger area since March, but we are slowly heading out of this to a 3. We will only continue to do this if we stay at home, stay alert and stay safe with the new rules of lockdown.
This is my opinion, I do work for local government but my role has absolutely nothing to do with this pandemic and I do not make any key decisions that effect the rules of lockdown or changes to it. All thoughts are my own and my aim is to try and help people understand what is going on.