Freedom Day has come and gone, COVID restrictions have largely been consigned to history (at least for now) and a significant part of Britain is beginning to establish the foundations of the ‘new normal’ that’s been mooted for almost 18 months. But what’s really changed?
For many, very little. According to the ONS’s latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, released a matter of days before we crossed the Rubicon on July 19th, 64% of Brits plan to continue to wear face coverings in shops or on public transport, while 62% report always or often maintaining social distancing.
Clearly the spectrum of views on how best to emerge from the pandemic is broad, and emotions run consistently high. The rhetoric often mimics the sneering and dismissive tone of opposing camps in the Brexit debate. On the one hand, those who adhere to the principles of mask-wearing and 1m+ are derided as puppets of the mainstream media and a shadowy global cabal. On the other, those who view restrictions as an affront to their civil liberties are cast as conspiracy theorists, or simply incapable of intelligent thought. The reality now is that the two sides have to co-exist with virtually no legal framework. It will require a measure of understanding and common courtesy that this country all too often seems to lack.
For installers working in people’s homes though, there are two factors to consider. It’s entirely possible, based on the figures above, that the requirement to wear a mask will be a deal-breaker for many consumers. On the flip side, there will no doubt be installers who wish to mask up even if not required. The dilemma for them is whether they wish to carry out work in an environment where concerns about transmission have dissipated… and whether they can afford to turn down jobs.
With cases rising exponentially, and the daily death toll approaching 100 in the UK at the time of writing, the feeling of liberation celebrated by one section of the nation has to be weighed up against the genuine sense of anxiety felt by another – and vice versa. This isn’t about shouting into the social media void anymore, it’s real life and we’re all living it. It’s a situation none of us chose but we have to make it work for all our sakes.