Our guide to coronavirus – aiming for clarity in all this confusion

We’ve been getting quite confused recently.

We’ve had politicians on the TV telling us we must stick to the rules, but then adding what sounds to us like “unless you can’t stick to the rules”.

As I’m writing this my neighbours are having a party in their back garden, there’s more than 6 people round, but I can’t blame them. I’m finding myself quite befuddled with what I can and can’t do.

It’s even more confusing as England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have all got different rules.

We therefore thought we’d bring out a leaflet that tries to make sense of everything, and above all to encourage people to not take any unnecessary risks.

We’re all very eager to see our friends and family properly (and not over another bloody Zoom call) but it’s not worth risking your own or their health in doing this.

When we wrote our leaflet we felt sure that the guidelines would change quickly but what is worrying us is that the senior scientists (the experts on viruses) seem to now be saying something different to the government. They’re saying we should not end lockdown too quickly as it could have serious consequences for public health.

We very much hope that the government continues to listen to the scientists who are the real experts in this and that we have clear instructions for keeping everyone safe from harm.

Alex’s story

The leaflet sets out the key steps we all need to take but tells the story of ‘Alex’ who is inspired by a man who lives near me. I would always see him about town in cafes and shops before lockdown, and he’d often make me jump out of my skin in random places by running up to e and saying hello. I’m wondering how he’s doing and hope to see him run up to me again soon.

The story is illustrated by Ned Razzell, an artist who also has a learning disability, and whose imagination brings our leaflet to life.

Download the leaflet here

Here’s a video version of the leaflet too.

What does all this mean for Stay Up Late and Gig Buddies?

One of my team suggested that we use the government’s Covid-19 alert levels to try and plot what the work of our charity will look like as we ease out of lockdown.

What I came up with was quite stark but reflected that so much of our work takes place in busy public spaces that we just have to keep on working in our ‘new normal’ way of working for the foreseeable future.

I’d love to say that we could meet up with small groups of buddies in the park for a socially distanced picnic, but how would that work?

Would we be able to keep our distance or would a few hugs accidentally slip out? (we’re a huggy bunch)

Could we share food?

Would we have to tell everyone to get there by not using public transport?

It all starts to get a bit woolly and so for now we’ve decided to be quite clear about where we stand as a charity. It’s not that we’re ignoring the government’s guidance, it’s just that we don’t really understand it and find it contradictory.

The best advice for now

The best advice we’ve heard in all this comes from Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand “act like you have Covid-19”. If we all did that we’d keep ourselves and everyone else safe.

So for now the Stay Up Late office is staying shut and all the work of Gig Buddies and our other projects is staying online.

So yes, that does mean more bloody Zoom calls but at least we’re keeping safe.

Download the leaflet here

Stay safe everyone and take care.

Paul, paul@stayuplate.org

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