End of restrictions…

Well, we all knew that it was coming, and it has been a long time coming. For some of us it cannot come soon enough and for others we are more hesitant, particularly given how many cases there are in the UK at the moment.

To be honest I did think that good old Boris would decide that life should go back to normal on the 19th July as I imagine he needs to keep people happy (e.g., businesses and other MP’s) however once again it feels as though he is passing the buck to society by telling us to use common sense as we move forward. Is he completely ignorant of how selfish and ignorant a large proportion of society is?! Give them an inch and they will take a mile! I have already seen people blatantly not wearing face masks on buses and refusing to wear them in shops despite what the rules are and security guards reminding them of this. I only imagine that now he has made the announcement that social distancing rules and face masks being compulsory are going out the window on 19th July that people will think they do not need to bother anymore.

I understand that we are going to have to learn to live with Covid and that will involve an element of risks and unknown factors, however I do not understand why Boris has said that masks will no longer be compulsory. Given that cases are increasing, hospital admissions are on the rise again and not everyone has had both vaccines, yet I would have thought that face masks would have been the one thing to have stayed at least until things improved or until all over 18’s had been offered both vaccines. (Or at least in schools, on public transport, hospitals, large gatherings etc.)

I wonder how businesses feel now that they have implemented all the one-way systems, screens, signs, hand gel etc about taking it all away? Will they be jumping for joy to be able to remove them all or will they want to be able to keep some of these things in place? Personally, I hope that hand gel will remain a part of life, after all, it has been noted how general illnesses have plummeted during covid and hand gel is bound to have played a part in this (as well as face masks).

I have enjoyed booking for events and knowing that numbers are limited so now I am not sure how I will feel about going out particularly in indoor venues such as a cinema.

I never thought that I would feel comfortable wearing a face mask, but they have become part of the norm and personally I will continue to wear one in supermarkets and crowded venues even though I have been double jabbed.

I hope more than anything that people will be kind to one another as we take the next step into life that will be as close to pre-Covid as possible. I hope we will not judge one another whether we decide to wear face masks or not, whether we jump at the first chance to go to a nightclub or whether we are more hesitant about going out once restrictions are removed. After all, it has been more than 16 months since we were able to go out and about without face masks and without keeping our distance from one another. My youngest daughter certainly cannot remember a time before Covid and one of her first words was hand gel.

However, you feel about restrictions lifting I hope you will remember to be kind to yourself and others and treasure the memories made during lockdown. Although it has been bizarre and at times incredibly challenging, I have made lots of wonderful memories and have made a photo album for both lockdowns to remind ourselves of these treasured times. I mean, when else would I be having a birthday tea party whilst playing musical chairs in my 30’s rather than going away?! I got to spend so much quality time with my children and mum and I am incredibly grateful for those times.

Lockdown part 3…. Week 19

I can’t quite believe that tomorrow marks the end of most of the restrictions in England and that life will return to as normal as it has been for a long time and what may be the new normal for some time to come.

Not a lot will change for me on a day-to-day basis, but I imagine some people will be desperate to go to restaurants, bars, the cinema, indoor attractions etc.

Whatever your plans are moving forward, I hope you will be kind to yourself and only do what you feel comfortable doing. Some people will feel cautious or uncomfortable and others may feel completely relaxed but the main thing is to consider how you feel and not to feel pressured by anyone. We have spent more than a year living with varying degrees of restrictions, some of us have been working remotely, some may not have left their house, ventured into shops or been anywhere crowded (in some large towns and cities social distancing seems to have already gone out the window!).

Some people may feel excited about having more freedom and others may be anxious, I hope that people will be kind to one another as there is no right or wrong. We don’t know what people are feeling or what their personal circumstances are. Yes, there are lots of people who have now had either one or both vaccinations but there are also lots of people who have had neither and of course there is the unknown about how the Indian variation may affect things. I am hopeful that vaccinations will still protect us at least enough to prevent anyone from being hospitalised.

I read an interesting article based on the virus experts’ opinions about the next stage of lockdown easing and the general consensus was cautiousness particularly in the next couple of weeks until we see what impact the easing has had on the number of cases etc. Like the experts I will still feel more comfortable sitting outside at cafes or restaurants or at least somewhere where there are limited numbers and 2 metres between tables. I found it interesting to read that all indoor exercise classes can resume but that high intensity classes pose more of a risk than say yoga as people expel more air when doing such classes. Fortunately, I wasn’t planning on attending any indoor exercise classes!!

There is still a feeling of limbo or that the government are hoping for the best but taking a stab in the dark when it comes to making decisions (yes, I know they say all decisions are based on data but it is obvious that a lot has to do with the economy, and we know the UK government has made mistakes otherwise we wouldn’t have the 5th highest number of Covid deaths).

Wales has advised people not to travel abroad until next year whereas England is allowing foreign travel to resume from next week. However, I am not sure how many countries will want us due to the increasing number of cases linked with the Indian variant. People won’t find out if they can go on holiday until the government updates the traffic light list which could mean you may not find out until the day before you are due to go. Although I had hoped to be able to take my girls abroad before my eldest starts school in September, I am relieved that I didn’t book anything and instead have planned a couple of staycations!

I got another chance to drive to York this week for my second Covid vaccine and I am now one of 15 million people in the UK to be fully vaccinated. I was a little anxious about having my 2nd vaccine as I had the Astra Zeneca and not long ago it was announced that all under 40’s would be offered a different vaccine because of a small number of people getting blood clots. However, I found it interesting that you are more likely to get a blood clot from taking the pill than from having the Astra Zeneca vaccine, yet a lot of people take the pill without batting an eyelid.

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As tomorrow marks the end of lockdown as we know it, this will be my last lockdown blog, but I will still write about life after lockdown!

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