Yesterday I missed all the announcements from Downing Street because I was busy dealing with disappointment and banging on about books. The headlines – and there are a lot of them – from yesterday are that from 4 July in England:
- where the 2m gap isn't possible, we should keep a distance of 1m+ and take precautions (presumably masks, not speaking directly at each other, etc)
- restaurants, pubs and cafes in England can reopen if they follow safety guidelines
- hospitality indoors will be table service only with limited staff/customer contact
- we will have to give contact details if we enter a pub or restaurant
- businesses will have to monitor crowd density, also at pinch points
- holiday accommodation, museums and galleries, cinemas, hairdressers and children's playgrounds can also reopen
- people in England can stay away from home overnight
- shared facilities must be cleaned properly
- in England, two households will be able to meet indoors or outside with distancing (unless in a bubble)
- outdoors, people from multiple households can meet in groups of up to six.
- libraries, community centres, funfairs, theme parks, amusement arcades, outdoor skating rinks, social clubs and model villages can reopen
- places of worship can reopen for prayers and services
- church weddings can be held with up to 30 guests – no singing, though
- no live performances so theatres and concert halls are being reviewed
- no opening for nightclubs, casinos, bowling alleys, spas, swimming pools, indoor gyms and soft play centres
- the rest of the UK has different rules and timings (and less appetite for risk it seems).
So…. basically this is the point where the rules are going to get really confusing.
The 2m rule will undoubtedly revert to 1m (people are already breaching 2m everywhere you look so what will 1m+ look like?).
Businesses will try to adapt and keep everyone safe but really there is only so much they can do and enforce. They have an equal pressure to survive themselves.
I'm pretty amazed there haven't been further rules on mask wearing. As someone said at some point somewhere on their efficacy, surgical teams have been wearing them to reduce the chances of infection pretty much since the dawn of surgery.
Ultimately I think it will be every person for themselves, depending on risk attitude. It doesn't feel, to me, as if we are in it together so much anymore. I miss the Thursday community claps.
Personally, I've talked to three people who've had Covid-19 and they all have a hangover of fatigue and shortness of breath weeks or months later. This is not just like the common cold.
I remain cautious and unlikely to go and sit in a pub or restaurant or cinema at this point. I also have two wedding invitations that are making me feel on edge. Which is not a nice way to feel about a wedding.
All these rule relaxations are a judgment call that the government is making on our behalf – and we have to dearly hope they have got it right.
But this was all yesterday's news.
Today the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians, and GPs all signed an open letter in the BMJ warning of the real risk of a second wave and asked how prepared the UK was for this. (But, you know, we've had enough of experts according to Michael Gove.)
The other big headline was that a human trial of a UK coronavirus vaccine has begun with 300 volunteers.
As for me, I worked indoors to escape the 30-degree heat, ate, visited family bubblemates for a quick hello, napped, ordered some takeout for tomorrow from a local cafe that opened just before lockdown, watered the allotment, watered the garden, and watched Floor is Lava on Netflix. It's no Total Wipeout but it filled a tea break.
Today I am thankful for ice cream, cold drinks, a fan and Pete laundering the kingsize cotton throw so we can sleep in this heat.
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