Since the end of March, we were experiencing quarantine in Leeds and it was a hard time to be stuck in the room, trying to make a productive routine with your life away from socialising. I have missed so much going to library, having the nice meal in the restaurants or having coffee outdoors with friends. Whenever I went to the supermarket to buy groceries, the city center that used to be full of people was empty, making me feel weird.
After 4th of July, the English government allowed many businesses and venues to reopen if they follow strict COVID-19 guidelines. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, hair salons, libraries and so on reopened. As soon as the 4th of July rolled around, I planned to meet friends in the city center to have coffee. All shops had not reopened however, several shops were open or were preparing to open. On the way to the city center, I found police officers riding horses to check the that the guidelines are being followed. All over the city, I could find stickers, flags and sign board reminding people to keep to social distancing. Also, there were sanitisers in the road for public to use them conveniently.
As I expected, many people were waiting for the café but it didn’t allow us to have coffee indoors so my friends and I sat in the table outdoor while keeping the social distancing with others. One of impressive things was that there was cover sheet for minimising contact with customers in the counter desk. That was helpful, not only to the customers but also to protect the workers. The coffee I had with friend after a long time was so delicious and the cake was just the right amount of sweetness to release my stress accumulated during the quarantine.
Whenever I passed or went into any venues such as pubs, restaurants, clothing stores, there was always sanitiser for customers in front of the entrance. For example, when I went to Primark, one of the famous fashion SPA brands, the guard in front of entrance arranged the waiting line to keep social distancing between customers and checked whether they used the sanitiser or not before entering the shop. In the restaurants and pubs, before entering venues or ordering food or drink, workers asked my contact information first of all, for the purpose of tracing. It made me feel inconvenient and relieved at the same time. What’s clear is that no matter what the government does, I have to follow and that’s the way for everyone’s safety.
At the first stage of lockdown, panic buying was severe and it really shocked me. When I went to the supermarket in the evening, I couldn’t find the groceries which I wanted to buy. This lasted only for a week and a bit… then I could get some of the ingredients I need as usual. I sometimes use Amazon to get necesseties and sometimes went to the supermarket. In most supermarkets such as Tesco and Morrisons, the guards make customers line up to let them in one by one.
No one can predict when we can return to normal life. Perhaps we should change the concept of everyday life we have enjoyed. The best we can do for the safety of all of us is to comply with the government and the city’s measures.