EASING THE LOCKDOWN
The Somerset Guardian, 10th June 2020
At the end of last month, the Prime Minister announced that certain lockdown measures would be eased and would take effect from the beginning of June.
As of 1st June, people have been allowed to meet up to six others outdoors, whether it is in a park or a garden, as long the correct social distancing of six and a half feet is observed. Restrictions on exercise have also been lifted and people are able to travel short distances to walk, run or cycle. Some workplaces have re-opened, some children have returned to school and certain NHS services, that were previously frozen owing to the pressure placed on it by the pandemic, are now accessible. In line with kick-starting the economy, outdoor markets and showrooms were given the green light to start trading again as long as customers are kept safe.
From 15th June, all other non-essential retailers will be allowed to re-open to customers and there is speculation that, as long as the death and transmission rates continue to fall and the R-rating does not increase, pub gardens and restaurants may be able to serve patrons as long as government guidelines and restrictions are followed. From then on, in keeping with medical and scientific advice from senior advisers, the country will gradually get back to normal, even if it is a 'new normal'.
Boris Johnson's decision to allow more people to meet outdoors is undoubtedly welcome, especially for those who have had to stay indoors alone, missing their friends. The sacrifice made by so many to stymy this disease is truly remarkable and it reminds us that meeting family and friends is so important to our emotional health and wellbeing. After months of lockdown, I was finally able to sit in the garden with my mother, something that we previously would have considered a small, routine act but that brought me - and I hope her - much joy.
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