Editor: Freedom day must mean we are actually free to choose

This wretched pandemic is far from over but it would seem we are very close to the end of restrictions.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 6:48 am
Prime Minister Boris Johnson wearing a face mask to combat the spread of Covid-19

It has been a while since the country waited with baited breath to hear what the Prime Minister had to say but that was what it was like yesterday teatime. There had been a lot of speculation – as we’ve become accustomed to with a leaky government – and even more scepticism – little wonder considering some of the decisions taken by those meant to lead. So, in the end, there weren’t too many surprises. Personal choice is the order of the day and freedom day might actually happen soon,

The most visible difference will be the disappearance of face masks – if that is what people choose to do.

It will be wonderful to see the stands full at Hillsborough and Bramall Lane. It will be brilliant for friends to get together to dance the night away in nightclubs. We all want our businesses to thrive and this is what the vast majority of owners have been saying for more than a year now.

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However, not everyone will be filled with glee. In fact, some are already feeling anxious about what lies ahead.

This might be particularly challenging for those who work in roles which are most at risk. We all know how crazy it can get in crowded bars and it is likely that those staff will have very little choice in lowering their own personal risks. I sincerely hope landlords and shop owners keep this in mind, ensuring they continue to do all they can to look after their workforce. If some measures are now optional, everybody must be genuinely free to make that choice themselves.

None of us have enjoyed wearing masks. For me, it never really became an automatic habit. But we have to avoid any pressure on people who still want to protect themselves and others by maintaining the methods which we have all used over the last year.

Going into lockdown was incredibly tough and the route out won’t be smooth either. Take it easy on yourself, do what you think is best and don’t make judgements on others.

We got here together. Whatever comes over the next few weeks, keep listening to our very own director of public health Greg Fell and don’t push yourself into anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.