Big public info campaign on keeping physical distance
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We need a really big public info campaign that explains what keeping your distance actual means in practice and why it matters. It needs to be aimed at any groups that opinion polling shows are most likely to think it's not worth doing. I saw one which showed that younger men were much more likely than any other group to be "resisters" about changing their behaviour. In my expereince a lot of the people who are paying least attention in public spaces and in supermarkets do seem to be young men (more as staff than customers in supermarkets). But they are not the only ones. Shopping for food was better in second half of April than it is now. People seem to be forgetting about distancing more and looking annoyed at other people who are making an obvious effort to keep a distance. A young man who was stacking shelves rolled his eys today when I asked if he'd mind taking a couple of steps back so I could get to something safely. I saw two senior staff touring the store doing some sort of check paying completely no attention to how close they got to each other or other people. I know it must be really hard to have to work all day round people and take this seriously. But either the distance matters or it doesn't. I'm not sure that people understand how big 2 metres is - it's a much larger distance than it's natural to keep and some shop floor markings are for smaller distances.
It's really hard going out and thinking about distance but the more people think it's not really needed and ignore it, the more likely it is we will be back to needing a big lock down sooner. We can open up more thing and relax the rules on leaving the house more the more people keep their distance when they are out of the house. That one bit of not behaving normally lets lots more normal things come back more quickly and stay that way longer.
Supermarket staff are key workers and been exposed to a lot more risk than lots of us, and maybe some of them are behaving more normally, standing talking and going close to customers, because otherwise they'd have to think about the risk they are taking too much. But some special information and training for people working in public places is going to be needed as well. Almost none are wearing masks, employers should be providing these to people in places where they are coming into contact with lots of members of the public. Surgical masks which give the person wearing it better protection than cloth ones should be available to anyone working in a shop and they should be asked to wear them.
Why the contribution is important
Because it does not come naturally to keep such a big physical distance from other people and you have to think about all the time so it is tiring too. The more people see other people not bothering the more they will not bother themselves. And we will get back to cases rising and be stuck with stricter lockdown for longer which is bad for indivuals and the economy. Very strong public information messages which are impossible to miss and in terms that get through to the people most likely not to bother with distance and make it clear what the distance means are essential.
on May 07, 2020 at 12:25AM