How are we all doing with social distancing and self-isolation? It’s something that cats have been doing for years.
Here are a few tips about what’s changed in daily life. Apologies if it is reiterating what you know already, but hopefully there are a couple of new pieces of information. And there’s a quiz (nothing to do with lockdown, COVID-19 or shopping) at the end
Remember, it’s essential journeys only. If you’re not going to work or to the shops, you probably shouldn’t be travelling. Pretty much everything else is closed, so there’s nowhere else to go. Roads are really quiet – every day feels like a Sunday.
Bus and trains are operating reduced timetables, so check before you travel.
Skies are really quiet – last night’s local news reported that there are only two flights a day operating from Southampton Airport – though that may be as much to do with the collapse of Flybe as the Covid-19 virus.
Most food shops are open – though may be opening later and/or closing earlier than usual. Many supermarkets are operating ‘Health Worker’ or ‘Elderly’ priority hours – usually at the start of the day. Shelves are gradually being restocked after the purchasing frenzy of the last two weekends, though there are still limits on the amount you can buy of some products
The recommendation is that only one person from each family goes to the shops.
Social distancing rules mean that stores may limit the number of customers inside at any one time, so there may be queues. Some stores have introduced a “one way” system round the aisles, to prevent customers from having to keep passing each other (it’s a bit like a trip to Ikea, though with fewer people).
Payment by card is encouraged – in fact at some stores it is obligatory. Sainsbury’s, for example, will accept cash only at the self-service checkouts; if you use a staffed checkout, you have to use a card.
Well, all I can is good luck with that. Online is your best bet – though delivery may be delayed. DIY stores may be open, but may offer a different shopping experienced. Halfords and B&Q, I understand, will be providing only a click-and-collect service, where items are collected from the store car park; customers do not enter the store.
Most card companies are going to increase the contactless payment limit from £30 to £45– though it may take a few weeks for devices in store to be adjusted to accept this.
Local councils are willing to move the ‘no-payment’ council tax months from February and March 2021 to April and May 2020. You may have to ask for this to be done, though Basingstoke and Deane are doing it automatically
Mortgage companies offer a ‘mortgage holiday’ for three months but think carefully before taking this up. The interest still accrues, so a short-term saving can result in higher expenditure overall. Generally, you should continue to pay the mortgage for as long as you can. The second choice is to pay only the interest. A mortgage holiday should be the last resort. This article (from New Zealand) explains more.
Household waste recycling centres are closed. Weekly bin collections are continuing but note that Eastleigh Borough are no longer collecting food waste.
Thursday night could become theatre night. We may not be able to go to the theatre, but the theatre can come to us. The National Theatre is streaming a free play, starting with One Man Two Guvnors on 2 April. See here for details. This might even make up for the loss of the Friday evening Archers episode.
To keep your brains active, what TV shows or films are represented by the follow diagrams. I haven’t got the answers, so any help would be appreciated.
If that one has you flummoxed, and you are more of a words-person, try this. Again I’ve not yet worked out all the answers.