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Express & Star comment: Socially distanced summer

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

Peak summer is upon us. We’re finally allowed out after months of staying indoors, our pubs and bars are open and serving refreshing drinks while our restaurants are offering food at prices last seen during the 1980s. It’s time to have fun.

A man poses for a photograph next to the bronze sculpture 'Taxi'

We must do so, however, in the spirit of the strange times that have become the new normal. We should have fun without jeopardising our health or the health of others. That means we must be aware of the risks from being too close to others. We do not yet have a vaccine, so social distancing should be a way of life for all of us.

The need to comply with regulations that are in our own interest and intended to safeguard our own health is not the only aspect to look out for. As people shun overseas travel and make the most of the great British summer by enjoying a staycation, more should be done to remind people to stay safe.

There have already been tragedies on our coast as people have become caught by riptides that have washed them out to see and cost lives. The RNLI has been exceptionally busy and on occasions it has been overwhelmed. Rather than simply focusing on the pursuit of a good time, it is our responsibility to know how to behave, to take care of ourselves and our families and to avoid activities that can lead to harm.

By the same token, we must also care for our environment. The stresses on nature and wildlife are simply too great if too many people rush out to beauty spots at the same time. Litter, human waste, pollution and more have been a scourge already this summer as vast numbers have taken to the countryside to enjoy wild camping.

Those with little experience have left behind material that can ensnare wildlife and damage flora and fauna. The leave no trace policy is what we all ought to adhere to.

The weather looks sets fair in the coming days and we should also have in mind those who find high temperatures a challenge, including the elderly and young. Sunscreen, plenty of hydration and a neighbourly eye out for the vulnerable will assist our communities. It’s time to have fun, but to do so safely and sensibly.

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