Everything feels really ominous just now.
Here in Scotland we’ve all been placed under reasonably restrictive coronavirus rules since the last week of September, unable to mix socially with other households at home at all, and from tomorrow we start our new tiered system going from Level 0 to Level 4 ranging from as-near-as-dammit-normal-as-can-be-without-a-vaccine at Level 0 to pretty much full-lockdown-apart-from-schools at Level 4.
Here in the Highlands apparently we’re going to be in Level 1, which is really good for local businesses but sadly we’re still not allowed to meet people indoors at home – only outside, or in public spaces, and still in restricted numbers – so for me personally none of it makes any real difference to life as it has been for the last few weeks, and that’s a bit frustrating to have to deal with as it’s not quite what was promised when the tiers were first set, but caution is the name of the game in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has been very clear all along that according to scientific data close person to person contact at home has played a big part in the spread of the virus to date and acted accordingly weeks ago, banning household mixing socially indoors. So I still have to go out to work and come into contact with strangers every day, albeit masked and sanitised and socially distanced, but basically still won’t be able to see my family at least for the first week of the new system, after which time things will be reviewed.
But in England, although certain local areas in Northern England have also been under greater restrictions than others for weeks now, the UK Government dithered and dallied and didn’t want to mess up their economy or piss off their people any more than they had already, so didn’t impose a blanket ban on households meeting across the whole country like we did here when the scientific data suggested it. Too much carrot, not enough stick. And infection numbers across England do appear to be rocketing again, so perhaps there is something after all in preventing people from mixing indoors in private homes.
And so just as Scotland introduces its new tiered system of loosening things off at last, England is due to be going into full lockdown for four weeks, which feels really weird to think about. Does that mean that here in the Highlands we’ll be inundated with visitors over then next few weeks as people further south try to escape greater restrictions and go elsewhere for the duration? Good for the tourism economy in such a tough year financially but perhaps not so much for the overall health of the local population up here.
It’ll all be over by Christmas, we jokingly remarked earlier in the year with pseudo-war-time spirit in the hopeful belief that Covid 19 would be a dark and distant memory by then, yet here we all are still in the midst of this global pandemic, mired in a no-mans-land of fear and misery trapped uneasily between the two front lines of health and wealth, bombarded incessantly from both sides by propaganda and prophesies of doom. Clearly not a snowball’s chance in hell of any of it being over any time soon, at least in this part of the world…
Yup, everything feels really ominous just now.