From Monday, pupils will return to school in England. Schools have only been open to the children of key workers for months, with the majority of pupils having to continue their studies online at home. With schools returning, it will be a welcome relief for parents up and down the country, although teachers aren’t too happy about the prospect of carrying out lateral flow tests on thousands of teenagers.
From 12 April, non-essential shops, hairdressers and some public buildings such as libraries will be allowed to reopen. I have already booked to get a haircut, but I’ve been trying to keep it tidy with clippers.
By 17 May, indoor hospitality and hotels can reopen. This is a big thing for everyone as it’s a source of entertainment for many, as well as being a big part of the UK economy. It’s a bigger deal for me because I work within the hospitality sector. While I’ve luckily never had to be on furlough myself, we’ve seen a massive impact from the sector closing.
By 21 June, all legal limits on social distancing will be removed and the final closed sectors of the economy can reopen. It will be weird to actually be able to be close to someone that isn’t your own household, although I feel like there will still be a lot of wariness out there.
There is some irony in that Boris Johnson, our current Prime Minister, stressed that he didn’t want to put dates on things, then immediately went and put dates on things. Although I do understand that we need to have some sort of timetable for all this.
Am I optimistic that everything will be back to normal by 21 June? No, because it’s not going to be any sort of normal for a long time. Covid-19 is here to stay, especially as we’re now being hit with multiple variants. The speed of the vaccine roll-out gives a lot of hope but, given the complete mess that the UK government has made of every stage of the pandemic, it’s not a stretch to say it would be unsurprising if that date passed us by.
I have no idea when I will be able to get the vaccine myself. I’m not in any kind of vulnerable category, so I’ll have to wait until the letters for over 30’s start getting sent out. My wife, Alex, has already had her first jab as she works for the NHS. She’ll be getting her second jab at the end of March.
We’ve really tried our best to stick to every rule that’s been put in place during our multiple lockdowns. It’s not always been easy, especially when we have a child that needs to be looked after when we’re supposed to be working, but we can safely say we’ve played our part. That can’t be said about the morons who still refuse to wear a face mask in places like supermarkets, bleating on about how it violates their ‘human rights’, but selfishness is an ugly human trait.
That said, I’m really hoping that we can get back to some semblance of normalcy by June. I enjoy my home comforts and I never really say no to a night in, but I miss the ability to just go where we please. I miss being able to say ‘shall we go out for tea tonight?’, even if it’s just something cooked from frozen at our local pub. I even miss going to watch a film at the cinema, even if I always feel like throwing something at the noisy person in the row in front.
But most of all, I miss being able to do things as a family. There’s only so much you can do in your home before you go a little stir crazy. We want to be able to visit places that are outside our local area, such as go for walks in the countryside or take a trip to Blackpool. When June rolls around, we’ll have all had to sacrifice over a year of our lives for the greater good. But it’s the kids I feel for, as a year to them feels like a lifetime. There are so many small milestones and activities that can be packed into a year, and I feel like he’s missed out on a lot of them.
So, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. It’s something I’m very much looking forward to, but it’s also something I’m nervous about as I’m always wondering if the goalposts will change, and we’ll have to wait even longer.