After a lot of uncertainty over the past year, we finally have a roadmap out of lockdown. This time, we have a vaccine being rolled out. After three lockdowns, it appears Boris Johnson has realised the tier system didn’t work, as people were travelling to enter the lower tiers when they weren’t supposed to. The pandemic has put tremendous pressure on the Prime Minister as the public are desperate to return to the normality they know and love.
Setting the pandemic in general, and particularly lockdown measures, firmly in the past will cause less arguments. The public won’t feel as though it’s one set of rules for some and another set of rules for others. Even though lockdowns are helping to decrease the rate of infection, it’s damaging to people’s mental health in not being able to see loved ones or leave the house. Those with existing mental health conditions will find it even more challenging.
Since the restrictions are being lifted at a steady rate, the third lockdown will probably be the last. Before, the restrictions were being lifted too quickly. Easing restrictions for Christmas didn’t work, even when the rules were changed at the last minute. By lifting the lockdown restrictions on a monthly basis, this ensures there won’t be a fourth lockdown. Even though Downing Street won’t rule out future lockdowns, we get the impression Boris doesn’t want to impose another one.
In comparison to previous, failed roadmaps, this one is relatively realistic, though it is not guaranteed people will stick to it. We’ve seen this before. People thought the end was in sight and decided to breach the rules. However, as we now have the vaccine, there is the relief some form of normality will return. The vaccine just needs time to be distributed before we begin to see the number of Coronavirus-related deaths decrease.
By not accelerating the easing of lockdown restrictions, Boris is enabling that to happen while allowing people to have some freedom. He is showing that he is human, and he realises the damaging effects the lockdown is having on the British public. This was also shown after the first lockdown, but the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme didn’t help the case numbers. After all, we didn’t have a vaccine and we were still trying to understand the virus.