Posted: 26 June 2020
The lockdown eases – for some!
No doubt you will have seen the government’s latest relaxations of the rules for social distancing and interaction. Alongside this is a further easing of the restrictions on many shops and businesses including hairdressers, bars, restaurants and hotels. All of this has been expected and sadly, following the introduction of the one metre plus rule, I’m sure we’ll see a rash of people disregarding social distancing altogether.
A Change of Rules
Alongside the more general rules, the government announced that from 6th July the rules on shielding would change, and those people can spend more time outside their homes. They can also gather in groups of up to six people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. I would urge you to read the guidance on the government website and look at the specific rules regarding health and wellbeing as they apply to your situation. We all want to see family and friends, but we really need to be safe!
There is another effect to this as well, which is, if the government ends shielding officially then any financial support to do with shielding will also end. It doesn’t affect our customers, but an example of this is the ending of statutory sick pay for those off work so they can shield; that income stream will end. Other benefits may be affected, and if you need any help or advice with this please let us know and we will do whatever we can.
Mask Or No Mask?
We’ve also had a couple of weeks now of wearing masks on public transport; how has that worked for you? It has been ignored by some and grudgingly accepted by many; however, it is the law. Furthermore, masks have been proven to contribute to overall safety and according to scientific advice should be worn in public where possible. And certainly, if you are visiting someone who has been shielding, I would urge you wear a mask as it’s another layer of precaution and, as they say, every little helps.
Lovely To See You – But Keep Your Distance!
With regard to changes to social distancing I think the one metre plus rule is fine, so long as you stick to it. It’s basically an arm’s length plus a bit more; not quite close enough to touch. Combined with a mask you have every possibility of protecting someone who is shielding at that distance, according to the research, and at least these precautions allow us to see loved ones. If you’re prepared to continue isolating you can also have your loved one as part of your ‘bubble’, which is even better and allows you much more freedom but, in the case of the most vulnerable, please exercise caution.
So where does this lead us? Towards a more complete opening of the economy, I guess, but we must all be very cautious about the ‘second wave’ or, when it happens, the winter ‘flu season. And keep your fingers crossed for a vaccine that works.