The 19th July 2021 Freedom Day, the day when all Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England has been welcomed and criticised by many. The day will definitely be remembered but whether as a success or failure is yet to be determined.
I might as well start by saying that, while I can see both sides of the argument, I personally think lifting all restrictions is wrong and irresponsible! During the lockdown, there have been people who think that the rules don’t apply to them for one reason or another. Now there are no rules where is the incentive for people to bother? I mean apart from the fact that there is a deadly virus still very much present in the UK and throughout the world!
Arguments for Freedom Day
Despite my mini-rant, there are compelling arguments for Freedom Day. If not now then when is a valid point. As frightening and unsafe for some as it may be, at some point we are all going to have to take a risk. This is mainly because nobody knows what’s going to happen and nobody, it seems, can make a plan where it is safe for everyone. Now is as good a time as any especially as it’s the school holidays!
People who have no outside space, suffer from claustrophobia and or mental health issues may find that their quality of life improves now there are no longer restrictions on how we congregate. Equally those without an internet connection can finally meet people unrestricted.
The lack of face masks will make it easier for deaf and hard of hearing people to communicate.
Last but definitely not least is the economy! With businesses closed people can’t make money. If people can’t provide for themselves then they can’t meet their own needs. This leads to a rise in people on benefits which puts more strain on the system. Businesses must be open for society to survive, just as lockdown proved how much we as human beings need social contact. Again, there are some people, myself included, that found some aspects of lockdown easier than the modern life before it. Working remotely and the shift to the majority of events being online and the flexibility this has afforded everyone with an internet connection is a major example.
Arguments against Freedom Day
The biggest argument against Freedom Day is the same as the biggest reason for it. No one has a plan that guarantees people are safe. For non-disabled people who are willing to take a risk and for those that are in denial anything is happening at all, this is fine. For disabled people who have physical or mental issues that make COVID-19 dangerous to them, Freedom Day is anything but! These people are being forced to take a risk due to others’ lack of care. At my local Sainsbury’s, the one-way system has been scraped and the screens have been taken away from the self-checkout areas. If everyone in that supermarket chooses not to wear a mask then surely having some protection measures in place that doesn’t affect the running of the supermarket makes sense.
Have you been vaccinated?
In the current climate, this is a charged question. Some people don’t want to have the vaccine and can get very defensive. Despite this, the government seems to expect people that have been on the shielding list to ask exactly that as they are advised to wait 14 days after someone has had their second vaccination before meeting them!
We, as individuals, are responsible for our own health. This is only right as far as it goes. The problem with COVID-19 and the problem I have with Freedom Day, in general, is that the behaviour of the majority can drastically affect the minority. Some restrictions should be lifted but ALL at the same time is just madness. The conscientious among us, disabled or not will continue to be careful and considerate. The rest will do as they please, until the next lockdown!!!