Small first steps on the road to new ‘normal’ as lockdown measures ease - Laura Collins, YEP Editor

They’re the three words that have become synonymous with lockdown.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 6:00 am
Cyclists out on Ilkley Moor at the weekend.

I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has uttered the dreaded phrase “you’re on mute” while on a video call over the last 12 months.

There’s nothing worse than getting into your flow during a virtual conversation to then hear those three little words as you fumble to unmute yourself and try to keep your composure.

This time last year many of us had never even heard of Zoom, Houseparty and Skype but millions of people across the world took to downloading the apps to stay in touch as the world around us felt like it was becoming a much smaller place.

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Many of us have spent the majority of the last 12 months behind our own front doors – especially for those who have been severely impacted by shielding and repeated lockdowns.

And during that time our only “human contact” has been in a little square box sandwiched between our friends on our virtual meet-ups.

Digital communication has become a huge part of our lives as we find innovative ways to connect with family, friends and colleagues during the pandemic.

I’ve lost track of the number of quiz questions our weekly Zoom meeting have rattled through over the space of the last year– and they have certainly had to be creative to keep everyone entertained for so long.

But from today the world around us is about to change once more as the Government slowly lets the brakes off as we head towards the latest road map milestone.

Groups of up to six, or two households, are able to socialise in parks and gardens once more as outdoor sports facilities reopen and the stay-at-home order ends in England.

With this latest move the nation is being warned not to “squander the gains” made against coronavirus by the NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis. He said yesterday that Covid-19 still has the capacity to “wreak more havoc and ill health on a significant scale”, citing concerns over new variants.

The lockdown has had a profound impact on each of us over the last year. Rebuilding social confidence is crucial as the first step to getting people back out into society as the lockdown continues to ease.

Today we highlight the city-wide group which is helping to support over 60s during the pandemic who have been most severely impacted by a year of shielding and lockdown.

While many people are excited about the prospect of no longer having to stay at home, this group might also be feeling nervous about actually going out for the first time in months.

Businesses across our city are being encouraged to think about how they can support these older people and boost their confidence when they return to the high street as non-essential retailers look set to open their doors in two weeks.

And each of us have a continued role to play in this as we carry on supporting one another as we take our first small steps on the road to a new “normal”.

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