Local News

Not Freedom Day, but ‘freedom of choice’

PHOTO: Luca Nardone

Whereas it’s not the full ‘Freedom Day’ we hoped for, there are changes to enforceable restrictions from tomorrow, meaning we now have some freedom of choice back.

From tomorrow in Andover (England rules) you are no longer required to wear a face covering, socially distance or be seated to be served a pint in your local.

PM Boris Johnson – who today made a ‘rapid u-turn’ following outrage – will now isolate after being in contact with double-jabbed Health Secretary Sajid Javid who contracted Covid-19 said July 19th would be the delayed ‘Freedom Day’.

However, although government enforced rules may no longer apply, the pressure is now on people and businesses to effectively regulate themselves. But we do need to be respectful and conscious of other peoples’ choices and decisions.

From tomorrow (19th July 2021):

  • Face coverings are no longer required by law
  • You can meet as many people as you like inside or outside
  • Social distancing guidance is removed (except in certain places like hospitals)
  • No restrictions on numbers of people at pubs, weddings, concerts or any type of gathering
  • Guidance recommending against travel to some countries is removed

Despite the facecovering rules being removed, do expect some places like shops and transport providers to you to wear a mask. The government says it ‘expects and recommends’ the wearing of masks in ‘crowded and enclosed spaces’.

Adding confusion, Stagecoach buses in Andover say, “Following the UK Government’s decision… face coverings and social distancing are no longer required in England. We are continuing to follow government guidance, which says that people are expected and recommended to continue wearing them during journeys on public transport.”

Their update of yesterday comes as a SAGE advisor to UK government said the wearing of cloth facemasks is just a “comfort blanket”. Yesterday Dr Colin Axon warned the Daily Telegraph, “Cloth masks have gaps which are 500,000 times the size of Covid particles”.

To many, seeing others wearing masks beyond tomorrow may be considered just virtue signalling (publicly expressing an opinion).

However, we should remember that some people are still being cautious about the world around them; either for their own personal safety, or because they want to keep the numbers down so we can get back to a sense of normality as quickly as possible.

Following our recent prophetic article on ‘Your Papers Please’, whatever your choice tomorrow, we now have that freedom of choice.

We trust everyone will be respectful of each other, regardless of their personal decision.

Johns Hopkins University: UK Covid deaths July 17 2021

About the author

David Harber

David Harber is the founder and Managing Director of Love Andover, including the Love Andover Observer newspaper and 95.9FM Andover Radio. He is a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and a card carrying member of the Nation Union of Journalists.