Yesterday the UK government announced that in a couple of weeks the wearing of masks in English shops will no longer be mandatory. When I say English shops, I of course mean shops in England; not COVID restriction easing only applies to retail outlets with indigenous Anglo owners. An edict which’d understandably cause consternation amongst non-native storekeepers.

Consequently, from 19th July, unless a retail outlet/business states otherwise (demanding face coverings are still worn within their premises) masks will once again be predominantly adorned by ne’er-do-wells wishing to obscure their identities.

I’ve yet to make my mind up if I’ll still wear my ‘talkSPORT’ branded (or indeed any other type of) face covering on the date Boris Johnson and his cronies re-introduce unrestricted facial liberty. Although, I probably will when located in areas heavily congested by the proletariat.

If truth be told, though, fifteen months on from first wearing a protective visage cover, I’m still unsure of the tangible protective qualities provided by these COVID jeopardy reducers.

Misgivings I’ve held since reading a social media argument during early coronavirus debates on the effective of masks. This including a theory positing face coverings are no more effective at stopping oral ingestion of the virus than undies are at negating toxic redolence born from flatulence. An observation which seemed to make quite a lot of sense to yours truly.

Anyhow, thanks to the success of the UK’s coronavirus vaccination rollout, which we’re told will significantly reduce the jeopardy of hospitalisation from contracting coronavirus (in turn protecting the NHS), there’s liberty around the corner for England.

I’ve no idea when Scottish and Welsh Assemblies will grant similar privileges to their equally long-suffering populaces. However, I’d like to think the Scots will announce it with Mel Gibson standing in front of the Edinburgh parliament dressed as William Wallace. The actor announcing Caledonian liberty with a celebratory yell of “Freedom!”, to accompanying cheers from jubilant SMP’s.

Only time will tell how England’s upcoming new independence plays out, especially when COVID-19 still hides surreptitiously around every corner. Reflecting on the countries prevailing social landscape, the fact a majority of our population are now vaccinated seems to me the only real difference in Ingleterra’s zeitgeist from our original lockdown landscape.

With COVID-19 still around, I guess they’ll be plenty of pathogen spreading taking place when we’re unleashed from our restrictive shackles. It’s just not the concern it was pre-widespread vaccination, as the impact of catching it now bears far less jeopardy to life than when initially quarantined.

In a nutshell, the key points for living lockdown on 19th July are as follows:-

  • No limits on social contact 
  • 1m-plus rule removed (except in some settings, such as ports of entry and medical settings)
  • The wearing of masks will no longer be mandatory
  • Events/hospitality/businesses
  • Nightclubs permitted to reopen
  • Capacity caps on businesses will be lifted
  • Hospitality businesses will no longer be required to provide table service only
  • No limits on numbers at weddings and funerals
  • No restrictions on communal worship and singing
  • No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
  • No legal requirements for Covid certificates for any venue or event

It’s gonna be great to once again be afforded freedom to undertake all of the above tasks…… Like many thousands of people, I was becoming institutionalised ‘under house arrest’. A turgid time when restricted days turned to weeks, weeks to months and months to years.

That being said, from a personal perspective, my initial liberty will be played out with a degree of caution. Treading carefully, I’d suggest, a prudent approach in the early days after telling hermitry to do one.

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