For many of us, it is great news that there has been significant changes which have taken place regarding COVID-19 over the last week or two or that are going to take place over the next few weeks. Sadly many of these changes are getting much more complex than the first set of rules set out by our Government. Almost on a daily basis there are challenges that cannot be ignored if we are to stand any real prospect of returning to what we might consider a more normal way of working. However the future may never be quite as precisely the same as our past memories were. There are of course some people who have so far seen no real change for them from March and it is vital as the discussions and debates take place, that we do not ignore the people who lack changes, even if they are not people we know personally. Then of course there are people who face some changes that will never be undone and that are so acute that they deserve our support. Tragically our nation is now responsible for the largest number of deaths compared to any other nation throughout the world and so for the families of those who have died and the people who know them as friends or contacts this is one part of our nation that will continue to be feel badly let down. The even higher numbers of people who are still trying to recover from a serious impact of the illness are a group whose change will be very slow and will have no sense of lockdown reduction. A few days ago a new NHS setting was opened in Leatherhead under the name of Seacole that is set out to assist people who are recovering from COVID but who require a great deal of help. Let us hope that by Mary Seacole’s 215th Birthday in late November that all of the people who are continuing to deal with robust lockdown will have passed the end of the process by many weeks and as we approach Christmas and the year end, that people like our NHS and Police along with teachers and many other people who have seen no gaps emerging in their working arrangements will begin to be able to return to something that has a sense of normality.
It is fantastic that today most of us who have gardens which are large enough can meet with up to 5 other people at a time. There are of course some significant changes in some educational settings. In two weeks there will be a significant change in our retail setting which will potentially be dramatically followed during July. In the meantime many of us will have returned to work, but as Boris Johnson expressed very clearly last Wednesday in his scrutiny
What we said on May the 10th was a pretty cautious message which we decided to have a relaxation that encourages people who must go to work for their jobs to go to work, it’s still the case that if you can work from home you should work from home
Those of us who can work away from our work premises, to reduce risks, have already had to make a range of changes and some of us have found them easier than others. Equally there are already indications that some businesses are changing their long term arrangements as a result of this, some have cost a great deal and some have helped to reduce the costs. Either way the reason is to protect the teams and respond positively to the Government’s clear requirements. However these changes have arisen at the same time as a large number of Members of Parliament including 13 Conservatives from Sussex have voted to return to Parliament rather than to continue to work from their homes. This also rejects the rules that our Government has made for all of us to remain in our primary residences and avoid any unnecessary travel currently. Given how upset people have become over the behaviour of Dominic Cummings who rejected the rules he and Johnson set out, there will inevitably be a great deal of frustration when Parliament restarts having ignored the home working and secondary home requirements. They will of course retain their 2m rules, even though last week a senior Tory MP tried to persuade Johnson to end that too. However the 2m setting means that most MPs will have to sit outside of the Chamber, watching the debate on screens and not being able to participate in it and being obliged to remain in the House of Commons, simply to be able to vote on our behalf even though a digital voting arrangement was recently set out and which worked very well.