This week the country took an important step in moving to the next phase of tackling the coronavirus with the government announcing its Covid-19 Recovery Strategy. While Coronavirus has been the biggest challenge the UK has faced in decades, thanks to the hard work, resilience and sacrifice of people everywhere, and despite the tragic loss of life, our country has now slowed down the spread of the disease.
However, there is still a very real risk of a second peak of the disease that could diminish all of our achievements in tackling the virus to date. The Government has therefore set out a new alert system which will tell us how tough social distancing measures need to be, and which will guide our progress along a roadmap – a three step plan to start our recovery and rebuild our way of life.
This plan seeks to return life to as close to normal as possible, for as many people as possible, as fast and fairly as possible, in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.
The first step started this week, meaning that we can now take more and unlimited amounts of exercise outside. You can sit in the sun in the park, drive to other destinations, and can meet one person from outside of our household so long as we are outdoors.
I am pleased that we can now enjoy outside sports such as golf, tennis and fishing – so vital to our wellbeing and mental health. Garden centres, which provide us with a great place to visit and get inspired, as well as stock up to make our homes even more liveable are now open. Those planning on moving home can now view properties, buy and sell their homes.
This has been a great step forward at returning to some form of ‘normal’ but it is vital that we stay alert, keep our social distancing and thus ensure that we can continue to rebuild our way of life. If we do that, we can then move to step 2 in June, beginning to reopen shops and schools. By July, depending on the scientific advice at that time, we may be able to move to step three and start to open at least some of our hospitality industry and other public places.
While it is likely that social distancing will be with us for a long time to come, these steps now provide us with a potential timeline of progress, of opening up our economies and enjoying some of the daily activities we took for granted for so long.