It’s interesting to compare the reaction of different countries to this virus. We locked down early, and we locked down hard. There were stringent movement restrictions, although not so stringent we couldn’t leave the house, as in some countries. Our border was closed to all but Kiwis and a 14-day isolation period implemented, which soon became a forced isolation, arrivals transported from airport to hotels and not allowed to leave before the fortnight was up. By contrast, the UK is only now ‘going to’ introduce an isolation period, those of us not there astounded that it doesn’t already have one.
When announcing we will move down a level the Prime Minister begins the press conference by referring to the ‘team of five million’ that have worked together to achieve the results that mean we can enjoy more freedom. New Zealand is geographically a similar size to Britain, but the latter has a team of nearly seventy million each. Even if the UK had made the decision to go hard and early, it must be difficult to manage such a large team, especially when the manager is nowhere near as good. And I won’t even bother mentioning the lack of leadership one of the largest countries in the world has.
Here in New Zealand, some semblance of normality will return as we drop down to level two. Restaurants and cafes are allowed to open from Thursday, as are shops, albeit with strict hygiene and distancing rules and therefore a long way from ‘business as usual’. Hairdressers, beauty salons and barbers will also be back and schools open on Monday. Cue a huge sigh of relief from parents who have been home-schooling their children for weeks and, I suspect, now have a lot more respect for teachers. Also expect a stampede of hairy bodies rushing towards salons. I advise those with no business in the vicinity of such premises to stay well clear.
Whilst Neil was on the phone at 9am making his appointment for a haircut that is at least three days overdue I won’t be rushing back to it anytime soon. I didn’t go near a hairdresser for the five months we were away last year, one benefit of having long hair with no particular style, so I can leave the way clear for those who feel they desperately need it. I don’t work in an office where I might be judged on my appearance and the only people I plan to catch up with soon are those who’ve seen me at my worst anyway. Thankfully, none of my friends are salon-junkies or fashion addicts and, like me, couldn’t really give a flying what the other looks like when we meet. It’s just nice that we can be together.