We’ve been locked in our homes for quite a while. Let’s be honest, the absence of human interaction especially with our family is something we terribly miss nowadays. A privilege that we previously took for granted has been taken away.

For the past 2 months, children have been disgruntled, while parents have been out of their wits trying to have them entertained and settled. Similarly, we miss the warm sun, the cool breeze, the touch of sand on our toes, and the sound of the calming wave. As new measures have been in place to ease social distancing measures and help the nation start anew, we come to ask ourselves, how do we cope with the new normal?

Can we see our families now?

Yes, we’ve been looking forward to those sweet little kisses from our little rascals. We’ve been meaning to give those tight, secure hugs. But a few days ago, we found out that it might take a little longer than anticipated before we could feel those warm embrace again.

Social distancing measures

Respective social distancing measures have been developed in different parts of Europe. In England, meetups are now allowed so long as you don’t exceed 6 persons (children included), and are anywhere outdoors. However, a distance of 2 meters per individual should be observed.

Looking at the brighter side, we’d take this in a heartbeat. Notwithstanding the 2-meter rule, we could now watch them play ball while under the shade of that old tree.

However, to prevent new cases and to ensure the total decline of COVID positive patients, the government strongly advises individuals aged 70 years and older to remain at home as much as possible. The same goes for the younger ones with an underlying illness, and pregnant women. Being at home reduces the risk of spreading the disease, and both categories are deemed highly vulnerable and susceptible to contracting the virus. Furthermore, self-isolation is still encouraged if symptoms suddenly manifest.

Shielding guidelines

Right now, the government is still advising people to “shield” until June 30. It’s intended to protect you, but it is still your option if you want to be shielded or not.

The shielding guideline has been updated as follows:

  • Minimise contact with others and maintain a distance of at least 2 meters.
  • You may spend time outdoors with your family, or members of the same household.
  • When living alone, you can spend time outdoors with one person from a different household (preferably the same person).
  • When leaving home, make sure you wash your hands properly and regularly, maintain distance, and avoid gatherings.
  • Gatherings in enclosed spaces whether with family or friends is not allowed. This includes religious services.
  • Avoid contact with someone displaying the COVID-19 symptoms.

Ultimately, we are all still advised to stay home, not unless we are essentially needed in the workplace.

Be Connected

Continued support from family and friends is encouraged to maintain stable mental health. But, if for instance, we find ourselves under the “vulnerable” or “extremely vulnerable” category, social networks and other web conferencing tools will temporarily suffice. The height of video conferencing has emerged, and we can utilize it to the best of our abilities together with post, mobile, and other online networks.

Can I spend some time outdoors?

By this time, people are now allowed to spend some time outside their property. Exercising, walking or basking under the sun is allowed but under social distancing measures:

  • Limit outdoor visits once a day.
  • Go out by yourself, or with members of the same household.
  • If living alone, you may have one person with you from another household.
  • It is best to be out early in the morning, or when there are just a few people around.
  • Remain in open areas.
  • Maintain a distance of 2 meters apart
  • Minimise contact with others
  • Do not share personal belongings with others.
  • Do not go inside enclosed buildings, households, or shops.
  • There is no limit to how long you should be outside. Take your time.
  • If you wish to stay indoors, you may open your windows or spend time in your balcony, patio or deck while observing a distance of 2 meters from neighbours and household members.

How do I get my prescription medicines?

Asking someone to do it for you is highly advisable by the government. If you don’t have someone to do that, you may contact your pharmacy (or hospital) for delivery, or they may help find a volunteer for you. Similarly, appointments with medical general physicians (GP) will still be conducted online.

Are we allowed to eat in restaurants?

So far, most restaurants are open for take-outs and deliveries. We expect that the social distancing measures will entail a bit of modification in their layouts and processes once they fully re-open.

What do I do if my carer gets sick?

Carers or special visitors that go to your house to ensure your safety, and provide your needed support are still allowed to continue the visits unless they start showing symptoms of the virus. When this happens, you should have a back-up support who can provide the care in his or her absence. You should also subject yourself under observation or self-isolation.

Your carers must observe the proper hygiene measures during each visit:

  • Regular washing of hand for 20 seconds upon arrival.
  • Regular use of hand sanitizers.
  • Avoid touching the face.
  • Proper use of tissue or the sleeve to catch coughs or sneezes.
  • Proper disposal of wastes.
  • Observance of the 2-meter distance.

Conclusion

In the attempt to rebuild lives and boost the economy, the UK has found strength in developing measures and policies that would ease everyone from the tension brought about by the lockdown. The guidelines rolled out are specific and preventive. With the curve flattening, many hope that the virus could eventually be eliminated entirely. However, as a precautionary measure, the government anticipates implementing social distancing measures to last until the end of the year.

Many have been looking forward to returning to their normal lives. But right now, we ask, ‘Is this the new normal?” As the new policies intend to build life anew, we all look forward to seeing our loved ones, and other familiar faces. The best we can do is to embrace the change and be mindful of all our decisions moving forward.

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