Stay alert – a guide

Stay alert – a guide

As the ‘English’ government seems to be unable to explain clearly what the new regulations mean, for those who live in England, I thought I would help them out a bit. This is not based on scientific advice, or anything else.

Stay alert.  Obvious, but difficult to do. I find myself nodding off by the end of the day, and eventually I confess I have to give up and go to bed. I hope nobody reading this shops me. I don’t want the police coming round in the middle of the night and asking complicated questions to test how alert I am.

Visiting family and friends. You can now do this, as long as they don’t live in Wales or Scotland. Except they changed their minds; Johnson now says it’s only ‘one on one’.  But there’s two of us, so if we visit family we can only visit one member each. After a while, we can swap over. And it has to be in a public place (not in their garden*).  If, while I’m talking to one friend (A), another friend (B) comes by, I can start talking to B only if A backs off. If we all stay 4 metres apart then that’s OK.

*If you live in Chatsworth, your garden is public. so that’s OK. I’m thinking of declaring my garden a “public space” so I could have friends visiting me.

Travel. You can now travel as far as you like, as long as you don’t stray over the border. But everything will be shut when you get there, so take your own food – but if you end up in Wales, you would have to eat it standing up because otherwise it would be a picnic, which is not allowed. And take a sunhat, and cover yourself up well, otherwise you would be accused of sunbathing.

Quarantine. If you enter the UK (or do they mean England?) by air, you will have to go into quarantine for 14 days. No, that’s changed. Now it applies however you arrive. No, that’s changed too – it doesn’t apply to entry from Ireland or France. If you come from anywhere else, you have to go to France first and then come to England.

(At the risk of sounding serious, why do this now – when we have more cases than most other countries in Europe – and not 3 months ago when we had few cases. And why 14 days? The median time between infection and symptoms is 5-6 days.)

Garden centres. Your best bet is to find one in Wales, close to the border, and go there. Technically, you’re not allowed to drive far in Wales, but if it’s close to the border the police might not notice.

Other cross-border activities. Take care (be alert!) when doing anything close to the border in case you stray across. This includes walking in the Cheviots or the Black Mountains. It also includes any golf courses that cross the border, where you can only play those holes that are in England. If your tee shot is wayward, you will lose the ball.

Face covering. Recommended to be used in enclosed spaces, but not proper face masks which are needed elsewhere. Niqab is suitable but beware of being mistaken for a letterbox. (Strange that some countries ban face covering but also make it mandatory!)

Swimming is allowed, outdoors. So rivers are fine, but be careful in parts of rivers like the Tweed and Wye. If you stray too far across the river, you will find yourself in Scotland or Wales. which is not allowed. See Cross-border activities.

Jeremy Dale

12 May 2020


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