Yesterday the Scottish First Minister indicated that all areas may go to Level 0 next month, and that all restrictions may be lifted on 9 August. Similarly the Health Secretary for England indicated that there may be a lifting of social distancing and face covering requirements there on 19 July. Maybe the word ‘may’ is all important here. Are these definite expectations, or is it saying what they think people want to hear, to buoy up popular support – always with the caveat that it may not happen if the data does something different between now and then? There are so many things we long to be able to do again, but it is also true that there are many people very apprehensive about a lifting of all restrictions – who don’t feel comfortable being in a crowd, being close to someone else without a face covering, going into cafes, restaurants or shops. The restrictions of the last fifteen months have caused many to develop a kind of agoraphobia. It is not something easily overcome, nor something that others should simply dismiss. It is something we need to recognise, and help them to overcome.
Lord, there can be different reactions in people to news of an easing of restrictions. Help us to cope, and be ready to help others to cope when there are apprehensions