Sunday 6 December 2020

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - XXIII

Things looking normal

After we came off the national lockdown into Tier 3 last week, I did not go out for my early morning walk on Wednesday but did for Thursday and Friday, long before the city had woken up. Yesterday, however, I left it until the late afternoon where my walk was part of my visit to ethnic shop for foodstuff and condiments.

Through Arndale Centre shopping precinct, it was a beehive of frenetic activity, people were out, buskers making music and the big shops had queues at the entrances. Something fearfully suggesting a kind of normalcy had returned when everyone should be more aware that things are not as normal as they should be.

Changes getting noticed

As my trek reached Bury New Road, the melting pot of humanity from all corners of the world with the Indian subcontinent more represented than most, it was bustling and lively. I walked on the quieter side of the road to the right knowing that my return route would be a different course.

In Tier 3, we still have many restrictions, though the gyms are open, the hotels are still closed and I the only restaurants open were serving take-out food only. I even availed myself of a Deliveroo service on Friday, for the first time this year.

I cannot say if the prospect of a vaccine is already beginning to change attitudes to social-distancing, close contact, closed spaces, or crowds, but I do see a lot more people donning masks. A building complex that had its cordons and hoardings taken down a few weeks ago was being outfitted for an office and I could not help but notice the early starters on Friday too, there were 3 staff at their computers and it was not even 7:15 AM.

A timely renewal

My walk today in much broader daylight though colder than usual took me by one of the pedestrian bridges over the River Irwell from Peel Park that had been closed for repairs and refurbishment from the first week of October, it was under a completely enclosed white canopy which had now been removed to reveal a newly painted bridge in navy blue from avocado green. The scaffolding still needs to be taken down and it initially was to be open yesterday until another week was added to the schedule.

I am hopeful that we would begin to put the worst of this pandemic behind us, not so much for the efforts of our government but for the community we live in understanding what is at stake. Having breached the 60,000 deaths to COVID-19 mark this weekend, I will not be giving this government a pass, by the ballot box and by posterity, they will not escape being held to account. I believe we have the resourcefulness and ingenuity to come through this situation, that is the strength of our humanity.

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