From today, England and Wales enter another phase of relaxing COVID-19 distancing regulations.
Non-essential retail, personal care, gyms and pubs can all open from today, prompting lots of headlines about pints and haircuts. And I get it. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t welcome this small step on the journey back to recovery, but I’m still cautious.
So I’m not heading to a gym, cafe or pub today, no matter how curious I am. Having observed London’s populace these last few months, it’s been less a case of skirting the rules and more shredding them and then publicly defecating on them. So I anticipate some carnage this week.
At the end of next week, we’ve booked a table outside a local bar restaurant, to have a belated celebration for @TheFrankFlyer’s birthday. But with two provisos: as long as the weather hasn’t taken a turn for the arctic and as long as when we get there, the venue hasn’t descended into a madhouse.
I’m hoping some of the novelty will have worn off by the end of next week and it’ll have less of a end-of-term feel to the place. I’m personally gagging to have a meal and a pint in a nice local venue, but not if it’s over-run with idiots forgetting to keep their distance.
On a much more positive note, all the numbers here in the UK seem to be heading in the right direction, which is a very welcome change. It’s been surreal tuning into the news each evening to see just how many more people have been hospitalised, diagnosed or declared dead. The numbers are virtually unrecognisable now, which is a relief – largely, it seems to the phenomenal roll-out of the vaccination programme.
We’re both waiting on confirmed dates for our second jabs, which will represent another massive step on the journey back to a much more relaxed and normal life.
If I was looking for signs, it would be about Spring. A new, fresh start, a reopening of life, with longer days and a healthy sprinkling of optimism. Let’s hope the next few weeks go well, so the subsequent phase of reopening can kick off. I’m personally looking forward to having a friend or two over, to eat pizza, drink beer and talk nonsense – just like the old days.