The stores opened for the first time in three months, although the cheerful assistants wore protective visors.
Football is back, even if the false noise of the crowd is not quite feeling like the real thing.
And when the sun is out, the parks are busy with people, playing tennis or having picnics – even if the playgrounds remain strangely deserted behind the padlock.
The COVID-19 alert level may have been reduced from four to three, but it doesn’t take much to scrape off the varnish of normality.
The lockdown may have been relaxed, but it’s certainly not over.
When I braved up the street this week, I couldn’t help a more personal review than the buyers in many stores.
My local bar is doing a “Pint Through” – but with nowhere to sit and drink, it’s hard to see it doing a lot of business.
Schools will remain stubbornly closed to millions of people until September – leaving children boredom and loneliness, and parents wondering how many hours of TV is acceptable to watch in a day.
The economic reality of locking is to start cutting through, and on the future of Sophy Crête on Sunday, let’s talk about the head of the union confederation, Frances O’Grady, to talk about what it means to workers and chef Ottolenghi to discuss the impact on food and hospitality.
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The number of people applying for unemployment benefits jumped 2.8 million people in May, according to figures this week.
This number only moves one way once the government begins to slow down its seniority regime over the summer.
It is obvious to see why the ministers are keen to start easing solitary confinement and people to spend again – but will we be able to?
In March Boris Johnson said the UK could “turn the tide” on coronavirus in three months.
Deadline has passed and it is hard to escape the thought that the government had hoped to have been able to lift the restrictions early
The two-meter social distance from the rule – which makes it impossible for some businesses to viable open – remains in place, despite calls for it to be cut to a meter.
There are rumors that the UK staycations may not be authorized on July 4 as planned, much to the dismay of the weak hospitality industry.
The aspiration that all elementary school children should have some time in school before the summer break has been discreetly abandoned – today, the ambition is to get them back in September.
It is not difficult to see why. According to government figures, the number of new cases remains stubbornly stable and the infection rate is stuck at 0.7-0.9. The ministers had hoped these two numbers would drop faster.
To make matters worse, there are concerns about the traceability system contact who told us that it was the key to lifting the security lock – where new infections could be quickly identified and removed.
Figures for Thursday showed at least a quarter of people who test positive for the coronavirus were missed by contact with the tracers immediately to whom they were able to pass the virus.
The government has also admitted defeat on its very “hype” app trace test, and is moving to a model based on Apple and Google technology.
If people are to start shopping and spending, first, they must be convinced that it is safe to do so.
It now seems likely that the UK will end up with more foreclosure from our European neighbors – a bigger economic hit – and, unfortunately, an increase in the number of deaths.
Sophy Ridge will be talking about TUC leader Frances O’Grady, MP Labor Laborer Rachel Reeves and Chef Ottolenghi on his schedule, Sunday at 8:30 am on Sky News