Every week, I give an update on how many weeks into lockdown we are. Six weeks, nine weeks, 11 weeks… But lockdown restrictions have eased a fair bit over the last few weeks. So has lockdown actually ended? When do we actually reach a point when we can say that we’re out of lockdown?
Do you remember when there was the vocal minority, when we were only three weeks in, who were calling it for to be lifted? There didn’t seem to be any comprehension that there would be a gradual lifting. They thought that things would be closed for three weeks, then everybody could immediately go back to the pub and the cinema and have all of their friends round to their house for a party. Well that was clearly never going to happen.
They may be the same people who, as soon as they were told they could meet one friend outdoors, packed up their picnics and headed for the beach with six friends. And hundreds of others who’d had the exact same idea.
On the other hand, there are the people who, 11 weeks in, are still too scared to still leave the safety of their houses and gardens, despite not actually being shielded.
And, of course, there is the sizeable minority of people who are shielding. They have just been told they can leave the house once a day, with a family member or one person from outside their house. For them, lockdown is still very far from over.
When I need a sensible answer to a question, I ask my 16 year old son. You know how teenagers know everything? Well, mine actually does. He is calm, sensible and thoughtful. He knows a lot of stuff and is also a very clear thinker. He can analyse a situation and come up with a very clear and measured answer. Over the last couple of years, we have all started to rely on him as being the clever and sensible one who can answer all of our questions.
So does my sensible son think lockdown is over? After all, he could go out and meet five of his friends in a park or hang out with them in our garden.
Well as far as my son is concerned, lockdown hasn’t ended. And I think I agree with him. A lot has changed, but we still have a way to go.
My son has a group of 10 friends. For him, lockdown will be over when he can meet all of them at the same time.
A few kids went back to school last week and non-essential shops, including clothes shops and department stores, will be able to open from next week.
Will it actually be over when we can go into Marks & Spencer and buy a pair of knickers? It won’t really feel as though we are in lockdown if we can wander in and out of shops and buy whatever we want.
But my daughter, like most kids, still isn’t at school. That’s not because I’ve chosen to keep her at home, it’s because year 9s aren’t going back until September.
My son still can’t do athletics training – training in small groups is allowed, but the stadium is still closed and sandpits are completely off limits for now.
We still can’t go to the pub, a restaurant, the cinema, the swimming pool or the theatre.
We can’t stay overnight in a hotel and it’s not yet clear whether we will be able to go to Padstow in August (even though we’re self-catering). But, believe me, if we are allowed to go, we most definitely will be going! Even if there isn’t much open, we will still enjoy it. If we can cope with weeks at home in lockdown with nothing open, we can certainly cope with a week in our favourite place without much open.
So has lockdown ended? Even though increasing numbers of people are now at work and more things are opening, I think we are still just about in lockdown. At some point in the near future, I think we will be able to say that we’re out of lockdown, just with a few things still closed. When that will be, I’m not quite sure.
What do you think? Are we still in lockdown?