New government coronavirus guidelines are now just up to our own interpretation

PUBLISHED: 06:55 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 06:55 14 May 2020

Wooly government guidelines have left us with no choice but to interpret for ourselves what is allowed and what's not, says Rachel Moore

Wooly government guidelines have left us with no choice but to interpret for ourselves what is allowed and what's not, says Rachel Moore


Are you clear on what you now can and can’t do in the outside world? Rachel Moore is still confused

How’s your week going?
Back to work? Looking at your socially-distanced colleagues through a safety visor and shouting through a mask on new staggered shifts?

Preparing to do your bit to perk up the dead housing market by opening your door to its first potential buyers since lockdown this weekend to view the smart decorating you did during furlough?

But only after you’ve paid the cleaner for the top-to-bottom deep clean she managed after finishing Pauline’s up the road, on the way to ‘do’ for Daphne.

It must be great to be back on the golf course and tennis court, planting those shrubs you grabbed at the garden centre after nipping into the DIY store.

Booked your holiday yet? Airlines want you to jump on board again in July, as long as you wear a mask and look in a different direction to whoever’s in the next seat.

You’ll be fine.

But the two weeks of quarantine at the other end won’t be much fun. Unless, of course, you fly to France, where you don’t need to quarantine, and then fly on somewhere more exotic from there.

Bet you’re really missing sitting down to support with your adult children you haven’t seen since March, popping in for a cuppa with your elderly parents and playing with your grandchildren.

Perhaps you’ll manage to catch them in the park soon, only one at a time, mind, keeping a respectful 2m apart. Choose your favourite parent and start a rota.

What is this all about parks all of a sudden? They’ve never been in such demand.

You could always drive to the north Norfolk coast for a socially-distanced beach walk and a bracing stride down Cromer Pier. But it would be a waste of time because the car parks are closed to keep you out.

It doesn’t want an influx – no one wants an ‘influx’ – of ‘invaders’ potentially bringing their urban infections with them.

Keeping its seafront and beach public car parks closed is, apparently, in line with the government’s “stepped approach” and will be reviewed on June 1.

So, the great outdoors of the north Norfolk coast is shut to keep people safe from infection, but you could drive to Cromer from south Norfolk to view a house for sale, taking the whole family to traipse around every room of a family’s home, touching whatever you like?

It feels like Norfolk past – keep those ‘foreigners’ out.

They might want you spending your money in their cafes, pubs, restaurants and attractions when they feel it is safe to do so, but you’ll get short shrift from the locals if you try to set foot there now to take the sea air.

You might want, of course, to tell them where to go when they decide to let you feel the sand between your toes again.

In the meantime, people have given up trying to rationalise the new guidelines – interpreting them as they want to fit their lives. It’s all about common sense, we’re told, as we try to navigate the guidelines.

Stay alert and be sensible, which is fair enough.

But, one thing that this crisis has demonstrated too starkly, is that sense is not that common.

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Science role models:

One of the biggest educational battles is enticing children and young people into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects

Something positive to emerge from these times must be an interest in science from the fantastic scientists that stand beside government ministers in the daily briefings.

They have demonstrated that science is anything but dull, remote and irrelevant.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser and head of the government science and engineering and professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer, are the inspiration needed for everyone to view science subjects in a very different way.

The health professionals too, and it’s wonderful to hear there has been a surge in the number of people wanting to go into nursing, with a new perspective of the complex, challenging rewarding vocation it is.

In the week of the International Nurses Day, wouldn’t it be a wonderful gesture for the government to take a different view to nursing training and scrap tuition fees?

It has always felt immoral to make people pay to learn to be a nurse, midwife or any of the health professions because we so need the right people to do them.

No hugs:

Thank you, Matt Hancock. No stranger hugging for the foreseeable.

Can we take this time to reboot some of life’s more irksome practices, like hugging strangers we’ve just met and kissing people we barely know as greetings and goodbyes?

Even handshakes, those great germ spreaders, should never return.

A nod and a smile will always do. It avoids awkwardness about what to do and instills social distancing as the norm. Hurrah. Another positive.

Farewell Nigel:

Monty Don’s tribute to his beloved golden retriever, Nigel, who died this week aged 12, for the light, unconditional love and innocence he brought to help him through his darkest times was so moving.

It’s said dogs are the big winner of lockdown, with 24-7 company and long walks. But their owners are the real winners, with constant comfort, entertainment and purpose.

Until you’ve owned a dog, you never know the wonderful dimension they bring.

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