Just over one year on from the first lockdown being announced on 23 March 2020 we have finally started on our ‘roadmap to freedom’ – hooray!
But in the swirl of forever changing information, what exactly are the new rules, and what can we do now?
In March, schools finally returned to the classroom and care homes allowed 1 nominated visitor per resident. Outdoor gatherings of up to 6 people or 2 households were allowed to meet up (although the challenge remained on how to wangle seeing 5 other people without leaving anyone offended). Outdoor sports also resumed and ‘stay at home’ was replaced with ‘stay local’.
On 12 April all non-essential retail, outdoor attractions, hairdressers (mullets have finally been addressed), beauticians, indoor gyms and sports facilities re-opened. Pubs and restaurants can now serve drinks and meals outdoors and members of the same household can take a holiday in self-contained accommodation.
With the current strategy for recovery and lifting of lockdown we will hopefully see cinemas, theatres and indoor hospitality reopen on 17 May, so no more meeting up in the rain (woohoo!). Alongside this up to 30 people from different households should be able to gather outdoors. This is the earliest date that international travel for holidays will be allowed, although with new variants emerging and Europe seemingly in the grip of another wave this remains to be seen.
Although we all know this is subject to change following how the rates go, the date we are all looking forward to is definitely 21 June.
This is the earliest we can we expect to see all limits on mixing and social distancing removed with large events being able to take place. Nightclubs will be re-opening so warm up your dancing shoes!
You can find a more thorough roadmap here.
As you probably know, University of Gloucestershire and Hartpury continue to provide online learning but face to face teaching has resumed for students on certain courses as part of a blended approach. Mass testing is now available to enable students to test before their return to University and twice weekly thereafter.
If you cannot get a test from your University for some reason, you can apply to have a lateral flow test posted to you.
If you get a positive test you will require to self-isolate in line with current guidelines. You can also get a PCR test to confirm your test result. Students are urged to travel between home and the Unis responsibly, following all the guidance on social contact. Currently face covering are required indoors and in areas where 2m social distancing cannot be achieved and good ventilation can’t be provided.
A word of caution though – house parties and group gathering are still illegal and fines apply to those who attend as well as organise these gatherings. Remember to keep everyone safe around you, as well as yourself.
It’s okay not to feel okay.
Many people will be looking forward to each step forward in the lifting of restrictions and who can deny it feels good to be looking forward to warmer, sunny weather and an afternoon in the pub garden or simply meeting friends and family after so long.
However for some there may be an understandable level of anxiety about increasing social interactions and health concerns (this has been theorised as Covid anxiety syndrome). Whatever you are feeling know that’s ok and everyone will be dealing with things in a different way. If you feel you need to talk to someone or get advice then head over to the charity Mind or Student Minds.
Of course ‘Hands, Face, Space’ is still a mantra to live by, but there is no doubt that it feels good to be able to look forward to restrictions easing and getting back to normal, whatever that might mean to you.
If you have any questions, worries or thoughts drop us a line at email@example.com.