Thu 17 Sep 2020: Carrying on as normal

There’s been much talk recently of reimposed restrictions, but that is not really the case. Expected lifting of restrictions has been postponed, and existing restrictions have remained in place with somewhat beefed-up enforcement powers.

The usual suspects have been whining about “whyyyyyyy” can people go to work in an office but not have all their colleagues come and visit them at home. All across the land – well, across the internet at any rate – went up the cry “but I don’t understaaaaaaand”. The cynical response is that “if there’s a till involved you can do it”, which isn’t quite true (you can do voluntary work in groups, and amateur organised sport, and so on, with no money changing hands) but it does get to the heart of the matter. Those groups are allowed to meet because the harm done by not allowing them to meet has been deemed to outweigh the benefits from prevention. I feel a bit like a stuck record here saying that working, and being a customer for other peoples’ work such as in a pub, is the best way to prevent poverty, and poverty is a far bigger killer than the plague. Likewise, volunteering for any number of good causes, even those unrelated to mitigating the effects of the lurgi, does far more good than harm. Likewise sport, which provides both physical and mental health benefits. All those things are allowed to go ahead with pestilence-mitigations: face masks, fewer customers than normal, being restricted to only 6 drinking buddies (hardly a restriction for the vast majority of drinkers anyway), washing your hands and your cricket ball several times during a game, and so on. All things that those too bloody thick to “understaaaaaaand” will not have in place in their homes.

There’s also an understanding from government that clamping down hard won’t work anyway because the people are fed up and wouldn’t put up with it. The beefed-up enforcement powers are acceptable to most because they don’t affect them, they only affect those who were previously not paying attention to reasonable restrictions anyway.