Sunday 13 September 2020

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - XVII

All change with no change

When I stepped out for my long walk late yesterday afternoon, I had planned to walk all the way to Sale Water Park which by the route I trek is 7.4 kilometres, Stretford Road to Chorlton Road onto Withington Road left onto Mauldeth Road West and Hardy Lane, through Hardy Farm and the bridge over the River Mersey that gets you to Jackson’s Boat Pub.

In the last 7 weeks we have been through various levels of local restrictions with the reality that the Coronavirus is not going away soon. There have been surges in infections all around Greater Manchester and I cannot honestly say by the way I view things that we are in any considered awareness of either the restrictions or limitations, everyone seems to be going about their business as usual.

Returnees in stranger times

I have once ventured a Thursday morning brunch in a restaurant in New Islington where the seating arrangement was socially distanced and one time when I did sit in a Starbucks café two Sundays ago, having left all my personal details on a strip of paper with the staff. My only social interaction would be when I go shopping for essentials and attend the Unsung Eucharist at church.

What I noticed was a busy university precinct, car boots, hatchbacks, and van doors flung open with suitcases, furniture, utensils, books, and other personal effects being moved into accommodations. I sensed university students are back. Life is returning to some normalcy even with pandemic hovering around us, hoovering up souls that have lost their battle to it.

It is still very much here

It would appear we have decided to get on with life, despite infection rates being at dangerously high levels, social distancing is now the norm with students threatened with exclusion if they don’t respect the requirement, have your masks covering your faces or face stiff penalties, keep washing your hands, thankfully, there is no one inspecting your hands in your home. From Monday, gatherings must not exceed 6 in a group, except at places where they are allowed. [MEN: Latest coronavirus figures show infection rate has doubled in a week in parts of Greater Manchester]

During the week, in faraway Wales where my office is and I have not attended since I started, two of the staff contracted Coronavirus, that anyone of my team who attends the office must if they leave their desks don a mask, wear gloves and document every floor visited. Things have changed too radically, the desire of the government to put us back into workplaces and offices is not one that would entertain mass consideration for a while still.

Elsewhere, I read, after the clamour to get the kids back in schools, 15 schools in our Manchester area have had to close with the pupils in self-isolation for 14 days. [MEN: More than a thousand pupils isolating after 15 Greater Manchester schools see positive Covid tests]

We can’t live in fear,
But we must remain aware,
However, we may fare,
The pandemic is out there,
Social distancing is here,
Mask your face, not as a dare,
Wash your hands, the pair,
For each and all we care.


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