Boris Johnson's Roadmap to Recovery
Written by Maddie Richards
On 22nd February, Boris Johnson announced his plan to lift lockdown in the United Kingdom. This involved a four-step plan taking place over three months, from slight changes on the 8th March to a potential complete lifting of restrictions on 21st June. After a year of being in and out of lockdowns, this news was welcomed by many. But what are the positives and negatives of restrictions lifting? Are these the appropriate steps to take?
A significant problem with these new steps is that people become laxer around the rules. The faith being placed in the vaccine system might mean that people feel freer to take chances, even before they have been vaccinated- compromising the whole plan. This would be bolstered by a lack of clarity in the rules. For example, ending the ‘stay at home’ rule might encourage people to visit other people inside their homes, which would still be against the rules, but would not be clear.
Another important consideration is whether or not specific rules make sense. Sending primary and secondary school students back as the first step seems to endanger people more than it might benefit them. It is entirely possible that, especially for older students, they could do what universities are doing - only send back students who are doing practical courses. The current plan of sending all the students back endangers the lives of students, teachers, and both of their families if they are not vaccinated.
Furthermore, what happens if the vaccination schedule slows down? There is such a strong sense of built up hope that has the potential to be completely shattered, showing that we shouldn’t place so much certainty on the current timeline. Plan’s have to be enacted safely to prevent the same fluctuations after lockdown 1.0. I don’t think it is a good idea to open nightclubs before all young people are vaccinated as this might lead to a spike in cases once again.
On the other hand I think it is incredibly important for individual mental and physical wellbeing to have a rough idea of the future. As I said, we have been in and out of lockdown for a year now, and hope is waning, so knowing what the future will look like helps. The first lockdown felt as though it was everlasting, with the extension of ‘three more weeks’, then another ‘three weeks’ until finally, four months later, we emerged.
On an economic front, it benefits us by allowing businesses to plan their expenses with somewhat of an idea as to when they will be able to make an income. This will enable smaller businesses time to prepare themselves and hopefully mean that people will make a livelihood the same way they did before the pandemic struck.
All in all, it offers not only an image of hope to the population of Britain but perhaps to other countries, being able to see that there is an exit strategy that we might be able to take.
I think (and sincerely hope) that this will work well. So far, around 25 million people (38% of the population) have been vaccinated, keeping up with their schedule. This should hopefully mean that we should be able to complete step-two of the Government’s plan, this meaning that pubs will be able to open for service outside, as well as the opening of gyms and hairdressers by 12th April.
I am sceptical with news of vaccinations slowing as to how this will affect steps three and four, perhaps slowing them so that things don’t go back to full ‘normal’ until July.
I also struggle to believe that we might ever go back to how things were pre-COVID. This pandemic will have shifted the way that our country works forever, with some businesses choosing to work from home from now on and perhaps face masks being normalised throughout flu seasons.
Overall, I think that ‘Boris’ Roadmap to Recovery’ is a good thing.
One of my major problems with the government’s handling of the pandemic has been a lack of clear communication, especially at the beginning and through this past lockdown. I felt that the press conferences that had once brought me comfort are now frustrating and repetitive, so it was nice to hear some positive news and clear guidelines on the end of restrictions.
Having contracted COVID back when the tier system was first announced, I’ve essentially been in lockdown for four months now, and the news that we might be able to resume normality in June of this year was a saving grace.I feel that they have taken into account the safety and legitimacy of the proposed ‘roadmap’. Which allows me to say with a degree of relief and hope that elements of pre-COVID normality might reappear soon.