On Friday, just gone, it became compulsory for people in the UK to wear facemasks when going into a shop or superstore. Although the law came in on the 24th July, we were informed two weeks earlier that this would happen. It has been interesting seeing the outcry from people as we prepared for this new approach to help deal with this pandemic. Their were many cries of outrage on social media stating that this was an infringement on our civil liberties, many jokes about how holiday pics were going to all look the same. suggestions that we should be greatful that we aren’t an A&E nurse working 12 hour shifts in FULL PPE rather than the 15 or 20 minutes we might be in a shop.
I find it odd to read of such outcries when I think back to the beginning of this pandemic when the country was sent home and we were told we could only go out for an hour a day of exercise. This backlash and outrage at being allowed to travel, go wherever we want, see whoever we want to see, shop when we want, return to work, go to the pub and get our haircut, but sometimes, wear a facemask.
It could be argued that this is too little too late, it could be argued that it might not make one lick of difference. it could be, that this is what stops a second wave. I don’t know. I’m not a cientist, and most people commenting on this aren’t either.
There are exemtions, children under a certain age, medical reasons, and psychological reasons as pointed out in this Psychology Today article. However, when I think back to the way we did handle the pandemic, when there felt like a sense of unity, people observing the guidelines, socially distancing, staying at home and clapping on a Thursday for the NHS. There was a sense of togetherness and coming together, recently it sadly has felt like more polarity between people.
I don’t think anyone will argue that this has been probably the most difficult and challenging situation most of us have ever felt, and it doesn’t feel as though we will be going anywhere near back to normal anytime soon. There are still things we can do to help, to stem the tide and maybe hold the virus at bay. If we can come together over this as we did at the beginning, we can move mountains can’t we?