IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

We’re feeling trapped as a result of ‘Freedom Day’

23 July, 2021

‘I can wear my mask, and I will, but people won’t stay distanced and I can’t run the risk of losing money or my job’

• IT’S a relief to be allowed to do certain things again. Visit family, old and new, go abroad and hug those we’ve not been able to see for so long.

Unfortunately, though, quite a lot of people are going to be trapped by the decisions our government has now made and I would urge everyone to be mindful of them.

Working in hospitality, I am scared.

Our company has just let us know that we are no longer on furlough (they’d have to start paying 10 per cent), and should we need to isolate – as so many are now – we will be given just £96.35 statutory sick pay a week for a maximum of two weeks.

This is not enough to live on and who has savings after a year of furlough?

I know, having spoken to others, that we are not alone in feeling trapped as a result of “Freedom Day’.

In any form of customer service, retail, clubs, bars, hotels, events, public services, travel, but in ordinary office spaces too, workers will be left in a lottery of who cares and who doesn’t.

Unlike the belief of many, I haven’t had a problem with people forgetting their masks because they were drunk. It’s more a frame of mind.

If I had to ask people at the door to put on a mask, to think of others, I was likely to have to ask these same people again and again.

And if people were reluctant to wear them when it was the law, how will we be able to protect ourselves when we’re depending on their individual responsibility? It won’t happen.

I know that I am unprotected. I can wear my mask, and I will, but people won’t stay distanced and I can’t run the risk of losing money or my job.

This isn’t a whinge, I can’t wait to get back to normal, but we have to weigh up the costs and there are some who will pay more than others.

Those with disabilities, auto-immune diseases, cancer, asthma, and some without any of those things will be hospitalised for no apparent reason.

Our politicians have been forced to isolate in Downing Street, where they’re well looked after, but how do they expect ordinary working people to afford it?

It’s dangerous, the idea that people will turn off their trace simply so they don’t have to isolate and lose money. Financial assistance must be there for people who need to isolate.

I really urge those who can, to keep wearing their masks. The infection and hospitalisation numbers are alarming enough already. Let’s not risk another lockdown.

DEVON OSBORNE
Islington Green Party

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