I hate the phrase “roadmap” being used in relation to lockdown ending about as much as I hate the word “jab” being used instead of injection. As you can imagine watching the news is a barrel of laughs for me, leaving me raging not at the actual content of the news but at the terminology we are now using. But that’s all a different story.
Roadmap is, apparently, the phrase we are using to describe our route out of the lockdown and so here I am, using the same wretched word. We are used to our Prime Minister appearing on our TV screens advising us of the latest updates, but when it’s at 7pm and knocks The One Show off the schedules we all tend to pay a bit more attention. More attention than the Prime Minister pays to his hair; some things never change.
We are now just a few days away from children being able to return to school on March 8th. This was always set to be the priority and nothing else is going to open up before schools. This will obviously come as a huge relief to all of those parents who are trying to juggle educating their children at home whilst also juggling their own jobs, or a dodgy wifi connection and one laptop between three children. It will then be another five weeks before the next step is permitted to happen and will be dependent on data showing the virus is still retreating.
The data is certainly showing that at the moment, there’s 20 million people who have been vaccinated and the daily death rate from Coronavirus is down to the low hundreds. That is still a horrific number but hopefully it will keep dropping, along with hospital admissions.
From 8th March then we will see children back in classrooms and be permitted to meet a friend for a coffee outdoors, or for a picnic in the park with our bubble. Importantly it will also mean that care home residents will be permitted to have one person visit them (having had a negative test and wearing PPE but the distress for families not being able to see their loved ones in care homes is immeasurable).
That opening up will be monitored and then if all goes to plan and the data supports it we will see the next stage happen on March 29th. This will allow two households, up to 6 people, meet up outdoors (including in private gardens). The “stay at home” order will be lifted and people will be permitted to travel further afield. Outdoor sport will also open up again. I must admit that whilst I am desperate to get on the M6 to go and see my MIL I am nervous about the amount of people flocking to beaches, tourist attractions and generally being out and about.
The next step will come on April 12 where “non-essential” retail will open up again, along with beauty salons and hair dressers. I have to admit at the moment I forget that “non essential retail isnt open”, certainly if you are out and about at the weekend you would think people are going about their normal lives and finding ways around this rule. I don’t understand why the independent dress shop on the high street is not permitted to open but you can buy clothes in Tesco. The gift shops are closed but you can buy any manner of gifts in the garden centre. So much of the rules have made no sense to me and do seem to be unfairly penalising people, professions or industries.
From March 29th we can buy a beer from Tesco and sit on a bench to drink it but we can’t buy a pint from a pub to take away for the same bench, or to sit in a pub beer garden? How is that fair on the independent publican?
Zoos and amusement parks can open from April 12th too, which is hugely exciting for us as we cannot wait to take Lily to her first zoo. Pubs will be able to serve people outside and there will be no need for that ridiculous “substantial meal” rule that had us debating whether Scotch eggs were a meal last summer. Holiday accommodation will open up, and up to 30 people will be permitted to attend a funeral and up to 15 for a wedding.
May is birthday month for us so we have it all crossed that the current suggestion that two families can meet indoors will be permitted from May 17th. I am desperate for our family to all come together for lunch in the garden and so I am really looking forward to this one. This is the date that will also allow larger weddings to take place ( a relief to all June brides this year) and sporting venues will allow up to 1000 spectators.
In theory if all that goes to plan (and all dates are subject to change or revision) by the end of June life will be as back to normal as it can be now.
The date of 21st June is being referred to as Freedom Day and Boohoo already has a “lockdown lifting” tab with various 21st June collections on their website.
I might just have to add that to my list of hated expressions too.