Freedom day: The people who are not looking forward to restrictions lifting today

wooMany of us must be eagerly waiting for the lifting of almost everyone coronavirus The ban on so-called “Independence Day”, July 19 for others is a date that is filling them with fear.

England will today move into the fourth phase of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, when social distancing and compulsory mask wearing are finished, although people will be advised to continue wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces such as on public transport.

But there are serious concerns about the new guidance “confusing” the medically vulnerable and those working in customer-facing roles such as retail, hospitality and healthcare.

Claire Saunders, Convenience Store Manager

Claire Saunders, who manages a convenience store near a pub in Essex, said her colleagues were “more concerned than ever” as of Independence Day.

The 41-year-old said the level of abuse his team has faced has “massively increased” during the pandemic as they have tried to enforce the use of face masks and social distancing by asking people to wait outside. have tried.

“Convenience stores are much smaller than supermarkets, so it’s more difficult to socially distance, we’re open until much later, you get a variety of people, it’s not a big supermarket with guards at your door,” He said independent.

“People are still scared,” she said. “We’re in the community and get older customers in particular and they’re still very worried, as are coworkers, because COVID just hasn’t thought, ‘Oh, I’m going away’.”

Claire Saunders, who manages a convenience store in Essex, says her employees are ‘worrier than ever’ as coronavirus restrictions prepare to be lifted

(Claire Saunders)

Matt Tessy, Nurse

NHS mental health nurse Matt Tessy in the Midlands called Independence Day “reckless, reckless and quite frankly dangerous”.

“The mortality rate is pretty low at the moment, but the number of people in beds is increasing — we’re going to get to a point where we don’t have hospital beds left and then what are we going to do,” says the 30-year-old. Said -Old, who is also a member of Nurses United’s core leadership team.

“There was an occasion last year when the Covid ward was full and we had a Covid-positive patient in the back of an ambulance for almost eight hours as there was no space. Only then does it have an effect in the society.

“It’s scary stuff. I know employees who got PTSD from the pandemic, it’s triggering their trauma.”

Matt Tessy, who works as an NHS mental health nurse in the Midlands

(Matt Tessey)

The health worker said patients were already seeking standard services, such as being seen in person.

“It has already started,” he said. “We are at risk of verbal abuse and physical abuse, especially where I work in mental health. Every single staff member I have spoken to agrees with the stay restrictions in place.”

Lee Walker, living with chronic fatigue

Lee Walker, who has myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia, said he wouldn’t risk leaving the house today.

“It seems like someone who isn’t 100 percent fit and healthy has been completely disregarded,” said the 40-year-old from Grantham, who went through a divorce and had to go home early in the pandemic.

“I want to say that I’m looking forward to going out to the cinema, but I can’t go to the cinema, or a restaurant or a bar – I may have been if everything was still completely social distancing, But I can’t when there are people who probably haven’t been vaccinated and if I told them they wouldn’t wear masks.”

Once a fortnight for the past six months, Mr. Walker and his companions have been visiting the supermarket to get him out of the house and get on his feet – but now he doesn’t feel safe taking this short walk.

Lee Walker, who has myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, with her partner Vicki Barber

(Lee Walker)

“Those short trips other people see as a chore or totally assume that I’ll get to look forward but from Monday I’m not going to do that,” he said. “I can’t risk it; I can no longer rely on other people to keep me safe.”

Bobby Morton, transportation worker

Bobby Morton, the national official for passenger transportation at the Unite trade union, said bus drivers were “very frightened” today after dozens of bus drivers died during the pandemic.

He described a meeting held on Wednesday with union representatives for each UK bus operator independent: “We were going around the room and they would give me chapters and poems about how their drivers were feeling and I met a special person and he said, “Help us”.

“The fears are with the delta version that despite the fact that the drivers are as safe as we can make them in their cabs, they sometimes have to get on the bus and of course there is very little ventilation for the drivers. Maybe breathing in virus particles and anything else.

“Every bus driver representative I speak to mentions mental health.”

Mr Morton said he expected people to “get away from the buses in their flocks” as social-distancing is eased.

Jade Smith, pregnant mother

According to the national children’s charity Starlight, families with critically ill young people are “facing the heat of fear”.

Jade Smith, a parent whose husband had to be away from home during the first national lockdown to continue working because their five-year-old son, Thomas, does not have a blood condition, said he is planning to go about the next week. I have “anxiety”.

Jade Smith, from south-west London, with husband Craig Knights and their five-year-old son Tommy, whose blood status is unknown

(Jade Smith)

The mother, who is pregnant with her second child and has been advised to postpone taking her second dose of Astra-Zeneca vaccine, said: “I understand why we need to lift the ban, but it seems too soon is. I want them to wait until all adults are offered two jabs, this will give us an extra layer of security.

Ms Smith, from south-west London, said she and her son would continue to wear masks and avoid visiting places during peak times.

“I think my concern is to protect Thomas, but also the other children and families in the hospital,” she said. “We could pass the virus to the family in the next bed, there are no curtains to help with ventilation, so we’re only a chair’s width away from the other parent and the child worries you.”

retail worker

Other major trade unions are calling on the government to mandate certain COVID safeguards to protect customer-facing workers.

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of retail trade union Usdaw, said guidance on social-distancing and face masks should be backed by legislation, rather than personal preference, “to avoid confusion”.

“Retail workers are already facing unacceptable levels of abuse,” he said. “They have worked during the pandemic to keep the country nourished and worth being valued, respected and protected.”

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nichols also called on customers to respect hospitality staff.

He said independent: “No one knows their own business better than themselves and therefore operators are best placed to assess what measures are needed to keep employees and customers safe after July 19 .

“That’s why we urge people to respect hard-working employees and business owners.”

Unison’s secretary general Christina McNea has warned of a third wave of coronavirus infections “will put NHS staff under unbearable pressure”.

He said: “The government should step back and make wearing masks mandatory again. Now is not the time to cover the face. “

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