week 17 of lockdown
Have you had a haircut? I am loving mine, and could have cried when I finally saw my hairdresser on Tuesday. I was terrified we would go into a local lockdown like Leicester and my appointment would have to be cancelled. I know that sounds pathetic but I hate having messy hair and looking bedraggled, so getting my haircut and catching up with my hairdresser was bliss. I was more than happy to wear my face mask (she had a visor), to have my temperature taken at the door, to pay for it in my seat and not at the desk, and to put on my own gown and drop it in the basked on the way out. Nothing was too arduous really, and it was reassuring to see all the scissors and combs being dropped into disinfectant after the previous client, even though it was my son so I knew they were Covid free!
Worrying to hear though that three pubs that opened over the weekend have had to close again because somebody who visited has since found out they were Covid positive. Everybody going into pubs has to give their name and contact details for just this reason, so it is good to know that in these situations people can be traced and advised what is happening so they can then go and be tested, or at the very least self isolate.
We have continued our self isolation and only mixed with family, and managed to spend some time in the garden with my parents and little Lily which has been bliss. All of this has really given me an appreciation for being at home rather than wanting to escape every weekend. We normally get up on a Saturday morning and try to find something to do or photograph so that we can look back at the the weekend on a Sunday night and think we did something tangible. Being at home for two days always felt like a waste of time in the past but not any more. Now it feels like a safe space and whilst we havent done all the jobs we could have done this has given us a chance to do one or two things around the house. Like booking a decorator for the lounge! But I still can’t make him a coffee which makes me sad, not allowed yet.
There was also a mini budget this week but it feels like the headline statements are just that, headlines. Dig a little deeper and they dont really feel like they will help those in the most need. Employers who bring people back from furlough and keep them employed until January will receive a £1000 bonus. Sounds great, right? But isn’t so brilliant if your business is on its knees right now and can’t operate as it once did. Limping through the next few months in the hope of a £1000 carrot in the new year feels like an empty gesture. And also that many will be taken back on, for their employer to pocket the £1000 and then make them redundant just after Christmas when the first credit card bill in the new year is landing.
VAT on food is also being cut from 20% to 5% for restaurants and cafes, but it is up to them whether they pass the saving on to us, the consumer. I can’t help feeling as though this will create some rivalries on the high street with some offering discounts in an effort to drum up business, leaving those businesses that need to keep the 15% being ignored by us, and then ultimately failing.
The same with the “eat out, help out” £10 vouchers we are being encouraged to use. Getting a discount on your dinner is all well and good but if you can’t afford to feed your family it isn’t going to make a huge amount of difference to you. And on a personal note it isnt the cost that is putting us off going out to eat, it is being in a restaurant where staff wear masks, we are all socially distanced and, well, it all feels a bit sterile still.
None of these tokens are going to help the businesses who have said they are already having to cut staff. Boots, John Lewis, Burger King, are all closing stores and losing staff this week and the high street is going to look very different from now on I think. It is a desperate time to be working in retail and my heart breaks for those that do.
The final announcement of the week was that beauty salons can open again from next Monday so I was straight on my local salon’s website booking a nail appointment for Monday morning. Faces are not allowed to be worked on though, no lip waxing, brows or facials which again makes no sense when men can have their beards trimmed. This has caused uproar this weekend because it is just so hypocritical, and seems to once again prove that the government is made up of men who are out of touch.
This one will run and run I think.
Image of person holding a mug, courtesy of Shutterstock