Bridgnorth residents left confused by coronavirus lockdown rule changes

Stay alert, control the virus, save lives. That's the latest advice people in England have been ordered to follow by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

David and Marie Whelan
David and Marie Whelan

But does it all make sense?

The PM's Sunday evening announcement and subsequent guidance issued in front of MPs yesterday suggests people should get back to work if they can observe social distancing and avoid public transport.

They can now go to parks and beaches, providing they keep two metres apart, and people can now go out and exercise to their hearts content rather than just once a day.

He also mentioned sport is permitted "with members of your household" - which will come as a huge relief to people desperate for a game of rugby with their mum, dad, spouse or children.

The people of Bridgnorth largely felt confused and apprehensive of the new rules for the current phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

David and Marie Whelan, who run The Shakespeare Inn, were out walking their dogs Otto and Pepper along Castle Walk. David said: "I think we should have kept full lockdown as it was, but having said that, people were out and about anyway."

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Marie added: "We know most people here and you know when someone's come in from elsewhere. Our business has been closed down and we won't be able to reopen for a long time.

"When I see him saying parts of the hospitality industry will be back in July, it won't be us. It's not that simple. People are still dying and the infection rate is still high.

"People say about mental health, well a lot of people come to the see us at the pub just for a chat about nothing but will have a laugh doing it. I don't think we realise how much it will affect people. I think we should have had a bit more of a structure."

Joan Southan

Volunteer gardener Joan Southan was pruning in Bridgnorth Castle gardens when we caught up with her. She said: "It seemed like the Prime Minister wanted to push everyone back out into the big wide world but I think it's a bit too soon.

"I think he should have left it a couple more weeks. The numbers of people dying are still high. It was all a bit vague

"The gardens opened up again last week and I was in here on a beautiful day. Quite a few people came in but they were socially distancing and not sitting on the benches. People here seem to be following the rules but not everyone will."

Mike Brown

Former TV cameraman Mike Brown took advantage of the easing of measures by making a trip to Bridgnorth from his home in Halesowen, something he was doing before he was technically permitted by the new lockdown rules.

He said: "We've been out on drives to Bridgnorth and Cleobury Mortimer. We don't get out of the car, it's just nice to have a change of scenery. We'll probably go to the Cotswolds.

"I suppose the stay at home message was a bit more straightforward. If they say stay at home you stay at home. Now they're saying stay alert. We were alert anyway."

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