We’ve all heard this by now – on social media, on the radio, in messages from our chief minister and as of last night, even from the Queen. Stay at home. We were doing so well last week, Jersey, but on Friday things seemed abnormally busy – as if we’d decided that four days had been enough and things were all better now. The GoJ even resorted to sending out another text message on Friday evening. COVID-19 is more than twice as contagious as seasonal flu, you can carry and spread it unknowingly for up to two weeks without showing symptoms and nobody has been vaccinated against it. Coming into contact with anybody, even if you feel fine, is a big risk. Let’s not ruin the few small freedoms we still have during the necessary restrictions by bending the rules – it just isn’t worth it. If you’ve become confused about what the terms being thrown around with wild abandon mean, and frankly, you can’t be blamed for that, here’s a recap.
This is the one that currently applies to everyone other than the essentially employed, and if you’re wondering whether or not you’re essentially employed then the chances are you aren’t. Here’s the skinny; everyone stays at home. Simple, right? The only time that you shouldn’t be at home is for exercise or essential shopping, and even then you should do it as little as possible and for less than two hours total each day. Let’s face it, the queues at shops are painfully frustrating now anyway, so why put yourself through it more than once a week if you don’t have to? What constitutes essential shopping? Food and medicine, that’s it. What counts as exercise? A walk, run or cycle – and while you’re not going to get fined for taking a quick breather if you need it, sitting on a bench for an hour and a half with a fifteen minute walk each side isn’t allowed. A man was arrested over the weekend for being out without a valid reason, so don’t become a statistic. Just stay at home.
In contention for most underwhelming hashtag of the year, #socialdistancing is the new norm when you’re in the big wide world (for less than two hours per day, of course). Tape on the floors of food shops serves as a reminder of how much distance to keep from those around you (a minimum of two metres, although that can be hard to visualise sometimes) and some retailers, such as Waitrose, are only allowing one person per household to enter the store. It makes sense; then everyone keeps two metres apart and the retailer can easily do their part to keep people separated and, ultimately, slow the spread of the virus. Don’t flout the rules, it only takes one person to push a trolley. Let’s all keep our distance from people who we don’t live with, slow the spread, and #flattenthecurve (to add another underwhelming but popular and important popular hashtag that you can Google to find out more about). Who can you be less than two metres away from in public? Somebody that you live with. That’s it. If you’re checking in on a vulnerable family member or taking them food, keep your distance, chat through a window and leave their essentials on the doorstep for them to collect after you leave. No close contact. Easy, right?
If you’re a vulnerable person – someone with an underlying health condition or those over 65 years of age – then you should place yourself in isolation. Get out for some fresh air and exercise for up to two hours per day but make sure you’re ‘social distancing’ and ideally have a food delivery service, family member, neighbour or friend bring you essential supplies to minimise the risk of coming into contact with other people. If you’re over 65, this is a great excuse not to have to look after your grandchildren for a little while, and even though you’ll miss them they’ll be grateful that they get to spend a bit more time glued to an iPad or mobile phone than they’re usually allowed to when you catch up with them. It’s a short-term win-win situation for all involved.
If you’ve recently managed to come back to the island from somewhere else, have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus or are showing symptoms and awaiting a test, place yourself in quarantine. This means that you don’t come into contact with the outside world at all, and if possible you don’t come into contact with those inside your home who’ve already been isolated before you required quarantine. This means not sharing a kitchen or bathroom where possible, but at the very least disinfecting everything you come into contact with before you leave the area. Have people outside the home bring you essential supplies – the idea here is to eliminate the threat of spreading the virus if it’s likely you have it. Keep in touch with family and friends, and of course, call the emergency hotline on 445566 if you become seriously ill.
In a nutshell? Your family might be driving you mad. Working from home or being unable to work is likely proving pretty stressful. Whoever thought that home-schooling would be so difficult? Keeping your distance from loved-ones who don’t live with you isn’t easy – and it’s probably tempting to bend the rules – but if you do, things will get tougher. The entire world hasn’t almost ground to a halt for nothing, and it won’t be forever. So sit tight.
Stay at home.
It’s okay to exercise and to shop for food, unless you think you might have the virus.
Wash your hands.
Don’t be a ****, (the carrier bag disguise article the other day was meant to be funny.)