Saturday, May 9, 2020, Day 55, Week 8, Month 2 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

346 new deaths taking the total to 31,587.

The News

The main news is that the government is planning to introduce a 14 day quarantine for people arriving into the country. The aviation industry is in uproar. They argue that it will be the kiss of death for air travel. Who is going to come here on business or holiday if they have to quarantine for 2 weeks? They say it would be better to test people before they get on the plane and then practice safe social distancing.

Frankly, I’m surprised that we didn’t do this from the beginning, but I can see the logic behind reducing the risk of the reintroduction of the virus into the community WHEN we get to a point where it is low enough for this to be effective.

There is a discussion going on about how and when bars and restaurants will reopen. If they practice rigorous social distancing it could reduce their customers by up to 75% and probably render most businesses unviable.

Little Richard, aka the father of rock and roll, has died at 87.

The New Way of Life

Last night, after our curry and “some” wine, we ended up watching a little bit of the VE Day celebrations on TV. We turned on the TV upstairs about 9pm just in time for Queen’s speech and then watched some footage of the celebrations 75 years ago, and some of the background stories of celebrities who remembered the day. It was really quiet interesting and moving at times. I felt more interested than I usually am when old footage the “the war” comes on.

I think our current situation created a new sense of connectivity for me with what people went through back then. What we are going through now is almost certainly going to be the biggest challenge our generation has faced. It is different of course. Very different. We are not facing the same physical dangers, death rates and hardship as they did, and we have only been in this situation for a few months, not years.

The one big difference that stands out for me though, is that back then they had each other. Friends and families could be together to support each other emotionally and physically. When it was over, they celebrated together in mass street parties all over the country. I doubt very much whether we will have a single special “day” that we can celebrate when this all comes to an end, if indeed it ever does.

We’ve had  very lazy day today but its been a good lazy day. Other “lazy” days have often been due to apathy and lack of motivation causing us (well mainly me) mooch about feeling miserable. Today, it was a choice and we’ve enjoyed it.

Shopping in the Time of Covid

It’s going to be the last good day, weather wise, for a while. We got up late. M had a long chat to his son. We ran out of bread so I went round to our local Tesco’s to get some so that I could make bacon sandwiches for breakfast.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have been in there since the 16th of March. It’s fairly well organised. Only two people are allowed in the shop at one time. There is a member of staff on the door allowing one person in as another comes out. Outside, crosses of black and yellow hazard tape on the pavement mark out where people waiting to get in should stand, to ensure that they are 2 metres apart.

This morning there were about 5 or 6 people ahead of me, and the queue snaked around the side of the building. It does move quite quickly though. I think I only waited for about 20 minutes or so.

When you get to the door there is a trolley with tissue paper, hand sanitiser and disinfectant spray for cleaning your basket if you wish to do so. As I only ever go for one or two items I try not to use a basket. Less things to touch!

Inside, arrows on the floor indicate the one-way system, and stickers and more hazard tape divide the aisles into sections. As it’s a small store, the aisles are narrow and it would be impossible to maintain a good social distance if you had to overtake someone or pass someone coming in the opposite direction. So, by moving from section to section  in one direction this is theoretically avoided.

It can be a bit slow, and mildly irritating, if you just want bread and you have to slowly follow the person ahead of you until you get to the bread aisle. But it does feel safe and I don’t feel I am taking a particularly big risk when I go there. Still, its not 100% safe. Some people, especially the staff, do squeeze past from time to time. Some people don’t follow the one way system. The biggest problem is staff restocking the shelves. Of course they have to do this, but it does mean passing them at close proximity. I personally think it might be better if they just closed for a while when they have to do this.

When you reach the check-out, again spots are marked out to indicate where you should stand. A perspex screen has been fitted across the length of the counter with a small opening to pass the products through and pay. The etiquette is that the assistant stands back while you pass your shopping, and your bag if you have one, through the gap. Then, you stand back on your spot again, while they check the goods through. When they are finished, they stand back again and you step forward, pay and take your shopping. I try to only get a few things at a time so that I can pay with contactless and avoid touching the key pad.

Despite all this, by the time I am done I feel as though my hands are contaminated. I have touched multiple items that have been recently touched by other people, be they staff or other customers who have picked them up and put them back. My shopping, my bag and my debit card are potentially all “dirty”.

When I get home, either M lets me in, or I come in through the back, having left the gate and the back door ajar. I wash my hands before I touch anything, then clean everything I have touched, put them away and wash my hands again.

Phew!

I’ve written this extremely tedious account of a simple shopping trip with my grandchildren in mind. It’s not a riveting read I know, but I’m imaging them, in 20 years time (assuming everything will have returned to normal by then ha! ha!) reading it and marvelling at how crazy the world was in The Time of Covid!

We spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing together. I didn’t go for a bike ride today as we did 25 miles over the last two days and my knees are complaining a little bit!

 

 

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