OK, folks. From next Tuesday, beauty salons offering things like eyebrow threading, and casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, exhibition halls, conference centres, and indoor play areas including soft play areas will be able to reopen round here. Unless you live in Bolton (10 miles away), in which case they won’t. But you still won’t be able to meet people in houses or gardens, only in the park. Unless you live in Stockport (15 miles away) or Wigan (18 miles away) in which case you can meet up in houses or gardens. If you live in Oldham (10 miles away in another direction) or Blackburn (22 miles away), you still won’t be able to meet people anywhere, even in the park. But you’ll be able to have your eyebrows threaded – the no threading thing only applies to Bolton. And swimming pools and gyms in Blackburn will be able to reopen. They’re already open everywhere else. Except Leicester.
In Corby, the infection rate is double the rate in our borough, but they’re not under restrictions. But we are.
In Bolton (10 miles away) and Trafford (6 miles away), restrictions were lifted at midnight on Wednesday but re-imposed by midday. To be fair to the authorities, the infection rate in Bolton had plummeted and the council there had asked for the local lockdown to be ended. Then it suddenly sky-rocketed and is now the highest in the country. No-one seems to have a clue how things turned round so quickly. In Trafford, the Labour councillors and the Conservative MP for Sale and Altrincham are busy squabbling, all apparently far more interested in scoring points off each other than in what’s best for local communities.
And does anyone know what the situation is if you live on the outskirts of Chester (where Portugal isn’t on the quarantine list) but work 10 miles away in Wrexham (where Portugal is on the quarantine list) and are flying back from the Algarve tomorrow? Can you go to work or not? Anyone know? I’m sure I don’t.
I’m not really having a go at the authorities. I understand that the idea is to keep things local – and I moaned like mad when all 10 boroughs were put under restrictions because Oldham had high infection rates. Oh, except if we’re talking abroad, where a rise in cases in one part of a country means that the entire country’s shoved on the quarantine list. But it’s so bloody confusing that no-one’s sure what they’re allowed to do and what they’re not. And I object strongly to the fact that restrictions are in place here when they aren’t in Corby, Middlesbrough and various other places where the infection rates are higher. That’s not fair.
Rates in our borough had fallen. But they’ve gone up a bit. Trafford, Salford and Tameside are apparently all at risk of becoming “hotspots”. I can’t see a way out of this. All I can think is that London, like Italy, is doing better because it was further along “the curve” when restrictions were lifted, and that nowhere else is as densely populated.
And I don’t want to get my eyebrows threaded. Nor do I want to go to a casino, a soft play centre, a bowling alley or an ice rink. I want to be able to meet up with my family and friends in a house or garden. Please, everyone, wear masks, wash your hands, and, above all, don’t meet up in big groups, because that seems to be what’s causing the problem.
And the actual numbers are so small anyway. 12 cases in our entire suburb, in one week. And, because of that, this. How long can we go on imposing restrictions because of so few cases, and with, thankfully, hardly anyone seriously ill?
Sweden, which never went into lockdown, now has the lowest infection rate in Europe. Spain, which probably had the strictest lockdown, has by far the highest. I’d assumed that that was due to tourists, but apparently a lot of it’s due to itinerant fruit pickers not being provided with decent accommodation and therefore being unable to observe social distancing. In France, the virus is apparently spreading around nudist camps.
Even in areas which aren’t under local lockdown restrictions, everyone’s lost track of what they are and aren’t allowed to do.
Is a puzzlement …