The New Way of Life
100 days in self-isolation. Well, it’s not really isolation now. Slowly but surely, we are creeping out and about again.
Today was a big day in many ways. The good weather has returned, the government has announced the easing of the majority of major lockdown measures and we ventured into the city!
In the morning, we drove into Birmingham as M had made an appointment at the Apple shop to get his watch repaired. Our plan was to stay outdoors as much as possible and avoid indoor shopping centres and enclosed spaces. We were armed with a selection of masks and hand sanitisers.
We parked in a car park that we knew was fairly open and airy and walked down the outdoor ramp rather than going through the shops. It was quite busy. Lot’s of people about, even though only a few shops were actually open. Mask wearing outside was about 50%. As ever with this whole thing, some people observing social distancing and some completely oblivious.
The queue to get into Apple was well-organised. Multiple staff and security outside handing out masks to people who didn’t have them, taking temperatures and enforcing social distancing. We waited outside for about 15 minutes, before joining another queue inside. The building was the old Waterstones shop. A huge, open, high ceilinged, air-conditioned space. My only concern was the couple behind us who were closer than I would have preferred and were wearing their masks down so that their noses were exposed. The woman had a horrible cough. One of the assistants asked them to put their masks on properly.
Eventually, we were shown to our own table, manned by a masked and gloved technical assistant. After he had diagnosed the problem and arranged to have the watch sent off for repair or replacement we were directed out the back entrance via taped black arrows on the floor. All very strange. I wonder how long we’ll all have to carry on like this for.
During the interaction, we found out that Apple had closed at the start of the pandemic, before they were forced to by the government, and had paid the full salaries of all their staff ever since, without help from the furlough scheme. They had also provided free mental health support for all their employees during the lockdown.
As there was nowhere to go and we had nothing else to do, we headed straight home after the appointment.
By now it was scorching! It felt like the hottest day of the year so far and this is just the start of a hot spell that is predicted to last until Friday. We’re going to try and take the bikes over to Rutland Water on Thursday.
We took a picnic and out beach chairs down to the Village Green and met up with a friend for a few hours. We’d planned to leave at 6 as he wanted to watch the football, but I actually had to come home early as I was too hot. We sat at the edge of the green, under one of only a few shady spots. But it got smaller and smaller as the sun moved around and we were forced to retreat again and again. Eventually, I gave up the fight and retreated all the way home to the cool of the kitchen and a few cold glasses of sparkling water from the fridge.
I’d defrosted some leftover curry in the morning for dinner. We watched a sweet little Irish movie called Dating Amber, before having a relatively early night.
Lockdown is lifting but scientific experts are warning us to prepare for a second wave.
So from the 4th of July:
- 2 metres is down to 1 metre
- Pubs and restaurants can re-open
- Holiday accommodation can re-open
- Two households can meet outside or inside and can stay over.
- People from different households can meet outdoors in groups of up to 6
- Hairdressers, libraries and churches can open
There is a lot more detail about what can open and what cannot, but it all comes with lots of social distancing and safety requirements and will all be stopped at a moments notice of infections are seen to rise.
In the meantime, infection rates are surging all over the USA. The world believes the virus in out of control over there, along with places like Brazil and India.
Go Outdoors has gone bust, with retailers quarterly rents due tomorrow!
The daily Downing Street press conference on coronavirus has been stopped.
From now on briefings will be on an “ad hoc” basis.
I’m not sure how I’ll find out about numbers of new cases now.
I think I might start doing this blog on an ad hoc basis too now.
280 new deaths, taking the total to 42,927.
921 new cases.