Here are the new lockdown rules. Come on now, pay attention! – Bill Jamieson

Bill Jamieson feels the array of the newly relaxed restrictions on individual freedom represents micro-management on an almost unimaginable scale.
How many households are in this picture? And does that actually matter? (Picture: John Devlin)How many households are in this picture? And does that actually matter? (Picture: John Devlin)
How many households are in this picture? And does that actually matter? (Picture: John Devlin)

Another week, another set of rules: never before has government been more invasive of everyday life in the UK.

It’s a struggle to keep up with the new edicts and guidelines. Barely has one set of admonitions on how to live our daily lives been absorbed than another is unveiled – and different in Scotland, of course (and Wales) in case you thought the UK BBC TV news was more than enough to contend with.

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From 4 July, the two-metre (6ft) social distancing guidance will change in England and pubs can re-open – with customers having to sign in and give their names.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the two-metre distancing rule remains in place until Nicola Sturgeon tells us different. Decisions on hospitality and holidays are expected from Wales and Scotland in early July. Meanwhile, people in England will be free to stay away from home overnight for the first time since March.

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Scottish pubs, restaurants and hairdressers allowed to open from July 15

In Scotland, people from up to three different households can now meet up outdoors if they maintain social distancing, up to a maximum group size of eight.

In England – but probably soon on the way here – two households of any size will be able to meet and it will be possible to stay overnight. This does not have to be the same set of households. It will be possible to meet one set of grandparents for one weekend, and the others the following weekend. The two households would have to maintain social distancing – unless they were part of the same support bubble. Outdoors, people from multiple households can meet in groups of up to six – but two households can meet regardless of size. It is, of course, different in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Got all that? Good. Here in Scotland, we will be allowed to meet up with two other households indoors from 10 July and pubs and restaurants can re-open from 15 July – with restrictions.

How is this all to be policed? How do we keep ‘non-bubble’ children apart when household restrictions are relaxed? How do keep people “one metre plus” apart in a pub and not crowd around the bar?

This is micro-management on a scale unimaginable. Is there any limit to the reach and intensity of control of everyday behaviour?

And in the event of a feared second wave, of course, it’s all back to status quo ante – if there is not a mass revolt against it.

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