9 key messages to remember as England marks ‘Freedom Day’

"Freedom Day": England Emerges From Lockdown

Clubbers take to the dance floor at Pryzm nightclub in Brighton as restrictions were lifted at midnight

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Today – so-called Freedom Day – marks the easing of government restrictions on facemasks, social distancing and the rule of six in England.

People can also begin enjoying concerts, theatre and sports events once again, while venues such as nightclubs have been allowed to reopen.

But, while some people are understandably excited to regain some normality after the past 16 months, there are others who remain apprehensive about the rule changes, with the country already hitting 50,000 Covid-19 cases a day and warnings from some scientists that the public must take a cautious approach to unlocking.

This morning, people on Twitter have been reminding people to take care and think of those who might be more vulnerable, as we enter this new phase.

Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden was among several NHS staff who posted about the easing of restrictions. Sharing a photo of herself head-to-toe in personal protective equipment (PPE) after working in the ICU last night, she joked that NHS staff were “very relieved to find out the COVID pandemic finished at midnight” as she dubbed today as “FreeDumbDay.”

Meanwhile, Frontline19 – a UK service that provides psychological support for health workers working on the frontline – shared six things to remember as the rules are lifted.

  1. You can say no to plans if you’re not comfortable
  2. You don’t have to go back to your “old normal”
  3. You’re allowed boundaries
  4. Be kind to yourself and others
  5. Your feelings are valid
  6. Keep yourself and other safe by wearing a mask and washing your hands.

David Schneider shared a poignant quote from Nelson Mandela, adding: “Freedom is thinking of others, not just yourself.”

Meanwhile, one person called on others to stop referring to the easing of lockdown restrictions as “Freedom Day.”

She highlighted that, in England, we enjoy freedoms that some people in other countries will never have due to “fear of genocide, war or kidnap”.

“It’s offensive and ignorant to call being able to go into a shop without a mask on freedom,” she adds.

Another person had a different take, but also urged people to stop using the term.

Several people posted that they would still be wearing a mask, despite them mostly no longer being mandatory in indoor settings. With #wearamask trending on Twitter, one woman named Izzy posted a photo of herself in a face covering and wrote: “Please remember that your #FreedomDay could be somebody else’s death sentence.”

And another woman reassured those who are worried about the rules easing that they are not alone.

She wrote: “I know you feel left behind and forgotten, but I hope you don’t also feel alone. You aren’t.”

While another reminded people to “keep an eye out for the preferences of each individual business you visit.” Supermarket chains – including Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose – are among the businesses who will encourage customers to keep masks on.

Elsewhere, someone pointed out the fact that, while many of us will get back to normal, for those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic, life will “never be normal again”:

Sage advice, indeed.

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