Bugle: Ed’s Comment

The Bugle is back in print! After 3 months of being only on-line, it’s a sign of the slow move towards the next big relaxation of Covid lockdown restrictions since December 2020. Under the roadmap conditions, no earlier than 12th April, we will see the opening of non-essential retail, meaning the range of shops will increase beyond essential items.

What a test that might be? Will we rush out to town High Streets, not just to shop, but to see what shops we have left? It will be nothing less than a miracle if small, independent shops have managed to survive around a year with no footfall, particularly those who didn’t have an on-line platform. Or have we got so used to shopping from home, on-line and enjoying the excitement of seeing which delivery van was turning up this time, our shopping habits will change for ever?
Personal care premises such as hairdressers will be allowed to open but, given the advance warning, unless you have been very canny, they are probably booked up already through to the summer! Most of us have been waiting for professional help, politely declining offers from nearest and dearest…

“I’ll do it for you.” “No thanks!” “I’ve bought special electric clippers and sharp scissors.” “That’s what I’m afraid of.” “I’ll just tidy it up, get it off your ears.” “I like my ears, they keep my glasses on.” A trip to my friend who has been in charge of my barnet for the past 20 years will be the highlight so far of 2021. It really cannot come soon enough. I shall feel light headed for more than one reason!

It’s an incredibly close run thing for which is more important for my mental state and well-being, getting my hair cut, or having a drink with Nigel and Sue at The Kings Head. (Other village hostelries are available!) Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although you must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

It’s been dubbed Alfresco April, as pubs will open their outdoor facilities first, to help ensure social distancing and safer virus control. The hospitality industry has suffered hugely with retail and travel underlining the enormous change in our lives which, previously, we took for granted. Popping out to the shops, having a social drink and meeting up with friends is a sign of a return to those free days!

Public buildings, libraries and community centres will open. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen, only for use by people on their own or in their household groups. Most outdoor attractions and hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas can open. Campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen. So the first signs of summer’s staycation are already here. Funerals can have up to 30 mourners, and the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events will rise to 15.

However, care, caution and vigilance remain vital to stay safe. Covid is still here.

Read the April Bugle