Coronavirus: 7 ways to be a more responsible citizen
PUBLISHED: 15:58 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:58 23 March 2020
As COVID-19 continues to spread across Norfolk, Waveney and the rest of the UK, people are being asked to play their part.
On Friday, Boris Johnson ordered pubs, clubs and restaurants to close their doors, while gyms and leisure centres were also told to shut as stricter social distancing measures were enforced.
Amid these unfamiliar and unprecedented circumstances, here are nine ways we can act more responsibly and look out for one another.
1) WASH YOUR HANDS
It simply cannot be said enough.
This has been the key piece of advice given by the NHS and World Health Organisation since the severe threat of coronavirus first became apparent.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for about 20 seconds - or the time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice.
2) Don’t stockpile
Sights of empty supermarket shelves have become commonplace over the past few weeks, with items including pasta, meat and - most notably - toilet rolls increasingly hard to come by.
But the message from supermarkets has been clear: do not buy more than you need.
In a joint letter penned on March 15, UK retailers reminded shoppers to be considerate so that others do not have to go without essential items.
Scenes of ‘panic-buying’ have left shops largely unable to keep up with demand, but they say “there is enough for everyone if we all work together”.
3) Donate to food banks
If you have the financial capacity to do so, donating to food banks is crucial at a time like this.
Many say they are struggling under the strain of coronavirus as donations drop, while a significant portion of their volunteers are in the ‘at risk’ categories, who have been strongly advised to stay at home.
You may not have much to spare, but the most vulnerable may have nothing at all.
4) Refrain from visiting elderly and vulnerable relatives
Letters and text messages are being sent to the 1.5 million people in England whoa are most at risk of contracting coronavirus, telling them to stay at home.
That includes those over the age of 70, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions.
You might be tempted to check on friends and family by popping in but, if they fit into the ‘at risk’ groups, your best bet is picking up the phone or leaving them a care package at the door.
5) Look out for your neighbours
For elderly or vulnerable people who don’t have family nearby, the prospect of being stuck at home for an extended period is incredibly frightening.
Thousands across the country have reacted by posting cards through their neighbours’ doors, which include contact details and services they can offer including shopping and dog walking.
Consider whether those living near you could be in need of a helping hand, while taking care to keep your distance.
6) Support local businesses
This is sure to be a tough time for the vast majority of businesses across the country.
But with supermarkets being stripped bare, there’s arguably never been a better time to support your local bakery, butcher or farm shop.
Social distancing measures mean many are now offering delivery services, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
7) Don’t flock to the coast
Norfolk’s coastal towns and villages were packed with visitors over the weekend.
Until now, the government has been keen to promote the importance of getting fresh air during these uncertain times, but pictures of busy parks and beaches have raised concerns.
A family trip to the beach is probably not the best idea at this point in time, while second home owners have also been warned away from swapping densely populated cities for the coast.