Over the past few days, there has been lots of debate on whether restrictions should be tightened further. Some of the ideas that are being thrown around by scientists and politicians include making it mandatory to wear a mask outside, arresting people for not staying two metres apart in a supermarket and limiting the number of times people can leave their homes. None of these restrictions go far enough.
According to NHS data from Stockport, the vast majority of disease transmission happens within households. We all know that masks heavily reduce the risk of people becoming infected, so as well as making masks mandatory in cafes, restaurants, bars and basically all indoor areas that are still open, why not make them mandatory in our homes too? We all know how this deadly virus spreads even in people without symptoms – and where better to spread than within our own homes?
This rule, along with the other policies that the government have suggested, should definitely help to protect our NHS from being overwhelmed.
And for those wondering how the government should implement this rule, I have come up with a plan on how to do this under the header below. I’ve also put below how this should be presented in the news and other forms of media so people comply with it.
How we should make masks mandatory in households
Over the past ten months, we have been told what we can and can’t do by scientists and politicians alike. In the middle of March 2020, schools were closed, followed by shops, cafes and other businesses. I didn’t agree with it, but like many other people, I went along with it, afraid of this new disease that had come a long way from China to our shores.
We were told that this would only be three weeks to “flatten the curve” and then we could go back to our normal lives again. Whilst we briefly went to something similar to normality in the summer, we have never truly gone back to the normal lives we had before. I was angry, but I hoped that we would get our freedoms back soon. So I didn’t write any blog posts about it or say anything publicly about it.
Recently, what happened back in March 2020 has happened again. Schools have closed, shops and cafes have closed their doors and the government’s slogan – “Stay At Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.” – is being rolled out again. Chris Whitty is even featuring in an nationwide ad campaign once again, looking as bored as ever as he reads off an autocue.
But something is different this time. A new variant of the disease (you know which one) has emerged, proving more infectious than ones that have come before. The government has used this new variant as a reason to put in even tougher restrictions than the ones we had in March. I won’t list them all here, as they are constantly changing, but they have led to two women being arrested for holding cups of tea whilst on a walk, and you can no longer sit down on a bench without the risk of a hefty fine or arrest.
I can’t believe this. Holding hot drinks whilst walking, and sitting down on a bench, are now criminal offences? You can’t drive 5 miles from your home without being fined £200 unless you have an “excuse”? What country are living in? East Germany? China? North Korea?
As well as being absolutely ridiculous, these restrictions that the government has imposed on us violate three sections of the Human Rights Act:
- Article 5 – the right to liberty (unless charged with a crime [sitting down on a bench is not a crime to most people])
- Article 8 – the right to a private family life
- Article 11 – the right to peacefully protest
(For those interested, you can see what your human rights are here. The European Convention of Human Rights is not affected by Brexit as it is part of UK law under the 1998 Human Rights Act.)
A few scientists, including Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam, have hinted that some restrictions on normal life may remain in place even if there is a high uptake of a vaccine:
Do I think there will come a big moment where we have a massive party and throw our masks and hand sanitiser and say, ‘That’s it, it’s behind us’, like the end of the war? No, I don’t.
I think those kind of habits that we have learned from… will perhaps persist for many years, and that may be a good thing if they do.Jonathan Van-Tam – Sky News article (archived link)
The Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, has said that the UK may need restrictions in the winter of 2021/22:
We might have to bring in a few [restrictions] next winter for example. That’s possible, because winter will benefit the virus.Professor Chris Whitty – Daily Express article (archived link)
I’ll let you come to your own conclusions from these quotes.
The point I’m trying to make is we shouldn’t let the government take away our fundamental rights and freedoms. This has set a dangerous precedent for the future, where our liberties can be taken away at any time, for any reason. It seems that even rules that have absolutely nothing to do with the spread of the disease are passed through without question, even from the opposition (and when they do, it’s along the lines of “It’s not enough!” even when it goes too far.)
And that’s without going into the long-term consequences of imposing these restrictions. It won’t be the big supermarkets or tech companies firing people en-masse or closing their shops – it will be the local cafes, the small shops, the family-run restaurants that will suffer the most, many of them usually viable and profitable businesses, who use their profits to create jobs in their local area.
But that’s not the only consequence of these restrictions. Children, especially younger ones, will suffer the most. They will think that wearing surgical masks everywhere and deliberately trying to as far away from other people as possible is normal. It’s anything but. This is the most damaging and in my opinion, most scary, consequence of these restrictions.
As Piers Morgan used to say, “The world’s gone nuts.”