Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Lockdown 2.0

I ended my first Lockdown Diary on 18 July, and posted to this blog about it. The post ended with a mocked-up photo of my fictional, future Lockdown #2 diary. I don’t recall thinking that it would really happen, but here we are.

Lockdown 2.0 isn’t much like Lockdown version 1, however. In fact, if I didn’t know a lockdown was in progress, I might not even notice. (That, however, would mostly be down to me being so unobservant.)

The traffic is lively, but lighter, if you notice those sorts of things. Many shops are closed—the hairdressers, pubs, restaurants—and we can’t go to the leisure centre, the cinema or the bookstore, and, although my wife can still work with her volunteer group in the park, it is now in pairs instead of groups of six.

Traffic, Lockdown version 1

Traffic, Lockdown 2.0

On the other hand, we can still go out as much as we want. There is no “one hour a day” restriction, and when we walk through town we can still shop at the markets, go to the mall and even get a cup of tea, though it is take-out only.

I realize that, like the first lockdown, many, many people have been adversely affected but, also like the first lockdown, we are in the very fortunate position to not be one of them. And because of that, to me, this seems more like Lockdown Lite than Lockdown 2.0.

And as a bonus, there isn’t any panic-buying going on, and there is a lot less angst. This isn’t our first rodeo, so we know what to expect; the virus is no longer an unknown bogey-man, the hospitals are better at treating it and, even without the continual prompting, we all know what to do (wash your hands, wear a mask, don’t French-kiss random strangers) even if we don’t always do it.

Town Centre, Lockdown version 1

In a way, this lockdown takes me back to those heady days of early summer when Lockdown version 1 was letting up—the ragged queues for take-out coffee, paying attention to the masking tape on the pavement, feeling like you’ve made a significant accomplishment when you finally step up to order, and mentally high-fiving yourself when a shop you need to go to is actually open. It’s a strangely nostalgic feeling, associated with freedom and hope.

Town Centre, Lockdown 2.0

The final difference is, this one is finite. Unlike the rolling three-week extensions of Lockdown version 1, Lockdown 2.0 is set to automatically expire* on the 2nd of December, and when it does, some/most/all of us will get back to the “normal” we were experiencing before. Which raises an interesting question: if we leave these restrictions and return to what we had come to know as normal life, does that mean things are back to Normal?

Perhaps this has been the Government’s strategy all along.


*I know the Government hasn’t had a stellar run of kept promises, but they really mean to stick to this one. No, really, they do. They won’t U-Turn on this one, they promised.