July 19th – a date to remember?
Pippa Bourne and Lucy Evans discuss their thoughts around the ending of restrictions on 19 July.
Hands, Face, Space – the recognised COVID-19 motto launched by the government in September 2020 to encourage the UK public to wash their hands, cover their faces and keep their distance following on from the relaxation of lockdown restrictions earlier on in the year. But, despite these efforts, we continue to ask ourselves why, ten months later, this motto still circulates across television adverts, radio and in print?
Although provisional, 21 June marked a pivotal moment, not only for the fourth and final stage of the roadmap to be carried out, but also for the feelings of complete liberation that would deservedly spread throughout the majority of students and youth. Instead, more ticket refund forms have been filled out, and more significantly, a growing sense of uncertainty and disappointment faces the new date for the end of all restrictions: July 19th.
Of course, this reviewed date is hotly debated among many. Having spoken to other students, grandparents, hairdressers and school children to name a few, the response could not have been more varied. And, to be perfectly honest, I myself am finding it hard to establish my own thoughts. Whilst the removal of all legal limits on social contact would allow for the enjoyment of larger events and celebrations – graduations, the Enchanted Garden Ball, and other festivals – will our enjoyment and expectation be the same as before? Alongside the anxious thoughts of expectation and uncertainty which have dominated the past year and a half, the rapid increase of cases among our unvaccinated generation only fills me with doubt for the near future.
– Pippa Bourne
As England prepares to say goodbye to social distancing and the ‘rule of six’ on July 19th, young people are excited to return to ‘normal’. For university students, this removal of restrictions means a return to the coveted nights out and house parties we have missed out on for over 15 months. A return to ‘normal’ life is finally within reach, but while many are excited about this possibility, others, including myself, are weary about what a premature end to social distancing will bring.
I know that for many people my own age, pushing back the much-anticipated June 21st opening was devastating, with many already having purchased club tickets ready to enjoy time with friends. This unfulfilled promise caused understandable upset, but with cases steadily rising, June 21st seemed slightly premature for a complete removal of social distancing restrictions – and so does July 19th.
While the vaccination programme has been extremely successful in reducing the number of hospitalisations and deaths in conjunction with COVID-19, young people – the primary age group for frequenting clubs and large parties – are only now being offered the first dose. For the fully vaccinated, ending social distancing may seem reasonable. But for those of us with only one dose, it seems that mixing with hundreds of strangers in a club at full capacity is not the safest option and will not be safe until most of the nation is fully vaccinated.
Although I cannot wait to be back in a club with my friends, I’ll be staying home on July 19th.
– Lucy Evans