As many of you already know, England has been weekly easing its restrictions on the lockdown and reviewing the safety measures implemented in recent months after de pandemic.
Since March 24th, all non-essential shops were closed, with only supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations remaining open.
However, from June 15th, zoos, safari parks and all non-essential stores reopened.
Still, they must take several protection measures such as:
– queues (with 2 meters of distance between people) to limit the number of consumers inside the place;
– hand sanitizer in the entrance of the site;
– if is a clothing store, after someone tries something on, they will steam it or leave it for 72 hours before putting back for sale;
– the fitting room will be cleaned each time someone uses it and
– several other measures, depending on each store.
If stores and other places do not follow these new rules, they will be notified by the government.
If you want to know more about these measures, check it here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches
But people who are still able to work from home, will not be returning to their offices anytime soon and several companies have already informed their employees that at least until August, they will stay as they are.
Cafes, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were closed on March 21st and perhaps, depending on how the contamination rates are, they could reopen in early July.
But from what I saw, pubs are already open for “take-away”. In my view, doesn’t make any sense, as people are all gathering outside, without following the required distance.
Speaking of social distancing, pubs, restaurants and the opposition political party are urging for the government to reduce from 2 meters to 1 meter of distance between people when these establishments reopen.
According to them, it is impossible to maintain the 2-meter rule, and the crisis would, even more, impact them.
As I already mentioned, we can now stay out of the house with no time limit, and we can meet in groups of 6, as long as it is outdoors.
Furthermore, to help those who live alone, from June 13th, they can visit or be visited by some other family (as long as those are from the same household) and physical contact is allowed, which means that people in the bubble do not need to stay separated by 2m. This is what they call a “support bubble”.
The new measures open the opportunity for grandparents who live alone to visit and hug their grandchildren for the first time since the beginning of isolation in March, after all, there is a significant concern with the mental health.
The rule also applies for couples living apart or to single parents with children under 18.
But this can only be done if the person is not from the extremely vulnerable group, which I explained in the previous post (here).
Despite these measures, the request is still that the population try to stay at home as much as possible and try not to use public transport.
From the 15th, the use of masks for public transport in England, such as buses, trains, trams, aircraft and ferries, is mandatory. Those who are not using it can get a fine of up to £100.
Volunteers from Transport for London (TfL) and the Greater London Authority are distributing more than a million masks at tube and bus stations. And some stations have hand sanitizer points for people to use and protect themselves.
Another change was that schools that would reopen in mid-June for students of certain ages would not restart until September (or later).
The children who returned to school on the 1st and 15th of June will continue going school, however with the number of students and schedules reduced, in addition to several other measures that I mentioned here.
Another rule is that passengers arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train – including citizens of the United Kingdom – must provide an address where they are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Surprise visits will be made to check that these people are following the rules, and if they are not in self-isolation, they can pay up to £ 1,000 fine.
Those arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man – do not need to be quarantined as long as they were in those locations for at least 14 days.
At the moment the UK has more than 295,500 confirmed cases, around 5,600 are in hospitals and more than 41,500, unfortunately, have died.
However, in more than 50,000 death certificates mention COVID-19. Some of these deaths are probable to include people with undiagnosed coronavirus or people who died as an indirect result of it.
The United Kingdom has the highest official death toll in Europe and the third highest in the world, after the USA and Brazil.
The NHS is asking anyone who has been tested positive with the coronavirus to donate blood plasma as part of a clinical trial to help in the battle against pandemic in England.
The study will tell how effective convalescent plasma (plasma from people who have had coronavirus) is at treating patients with coronavirus.
If you want to register, go to this website here: https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/convalescent-plasma-clinical-trial/
Also, the supermarkets are getting normal little by little. The distance rules continue, but home deliveries already have more slots available and some products, although still in short supply, are gradually returning to the shelves.
And although many people are ignoring the rules, I realize that the majority I talk to, are still afraid to go out get back to normal.
Talking to friends, I see that those who are required to return to work are scared, and those who can work from home will continue with the lockdown and are only leaving for the essential.
And how about you? How are you reacting to the new changes? How are you dealing mentally and physically with this pandemic?
I hope that somehow, we get better as soon as possible.
This post is also available in: Português