This is a true story and actually happened to me in the UK, isn’t that why it is true:)
There is no embellishment or exaggerations, however…..the issue or position as to if the government will risk lives to improve the economy…..is an opinion, or speculation, based on certain facts.
As I write this, Monday, September 1, 2020, on what by weather standards here in the North West of England, is a nice day, I have to almost pinch myself to make sure what occurred over the weekend was real.
That and also ask my partner of 12 years, “did that really happen in the shop on Saturday?”
Her response, the love of my life, “yes, it happened, get over it, and you made a show of yourself….and me!”
Sorry to drag you, readers, through the muck and mire, and more words to read, but the foundation of what I am about to share, and also pontificate on, begins over a week prior, in the City Centre of your dear writer’s adopted home town, which is best to remain anonymous.
But first, some background information
Fact: Currently in the UK if you are to enter and be inside a shop or store, you are required by law to wear a face mask.
On the surface it seems simple enough, if you go out somewhere, take and wear a face mask.
Reality: People are not wearing face masks in some areas. Some shops and stores, some public places, just some places in general. No real list or where people refuse to wear face masks, it is happenstance as to where the rules are adhered to, or flouted.
Time Travel Back to Just Over a Week Ago
My partner and I were out in the City Centre and stopped in a Tesco store there; not a Tesco Metro, but a somewhat larger, 2 leveled Tesco.
I could not help but notice at least 50% of the people in the store did NOT have face masks on, even though they are compulsory, and those not wearing a face mask face a £100 fine.
While in the store I asked an employee who was putting stock out if I could smoke a cigarette in the store, I was told no, it is against the law.
I then pointed out all the people not wearing face masks, and asked if NOT wearing face masks was illegal? To which the employee, and he really was a nice young man, said face masks are required, but we cannot enforce them. Too much of a chance for someone to “kick-off” as they say.
The young employee of Tesco told me to speak to the security person at the entrance to the store.
And so off I went to ask the same questions, can I smoke a cigarette in the store, and why do so many people NOT have face masks on, when it is required by law?
The security person offered to physically show me the way out of the store, and shouted at me that if I did not leave on my own accord, I would be barred and the police called!
All for asking a simple question, in a calm and nice tone. Non-confrontational, just a question.
So security may take shoplifting seriously, but breathing out germs and coughing on food is not a crime.
Incident Number Two
As I mentioned at the beginning of this little lyrical storytelling, there was also an incident on Saturday, August 29th.
And here is where it gets good….
My partner and I were in a local shop/supermarket, in what my partner states is a “rough” part of town.
Now rough to me bring memories of Detroit, Baltimore back in the day, Washington, D.C. years ago, that’s rough! Guns, guns and more guns, robberies and murders almost daily.
However, to my better half, this supermarket is in a rough part of town. You may ask yourself why we were there? They have the best tahini and fresh bread on the planet!
So while standing at the counter to be waited on for said tahini and fresh-baked bread, I notice a woman in her 30’s, with 2 children, ages 10 or so, and I am guessing her mum, she looked in her 50’s, all without face masks.
The woman who I think is the mum, walks over to the counter, where a sign states, “If You Want Bread Ask a Member of Staff”.
The woman, again with no mask, and no gloves, touches a few of the loaves of bread and takes one and puts it in a brown bag, which the brown bags are specifically for the bread, as all the loaves of bread are out in the open and not covered or sealed in any way.
I witness this, my partner does not.
Then standing at the counter to be waited on, there is a plastic placard sign that states, face masks are to be worn by law inside the store.
I casually lean over to the woman in her thirties not wearing a face mask, not the older woman, and ask her if she can read this sign?
After about 5 minutes of her lips moving and head-turning sideways, she looks at me and begins shouting abuse at me that she has a medical condition, and does not have to wear a mask.
I thought I was being discreet by just pointing out the sign, and it was her who began getting loud, shouting, and I mean shouting, using profanity towards me, and kept up this diatribe in my direction for quite some time.
Initially, I apologized and said I did not know you had a medical condition. Although in all fairness and there are those that will say I am taking the low road here, the only medical condition I saw is she, and all of her family, did not know how to put down a fork with food on it.
Did I feel bad about this incident, yes, I did. My partner was mortified, I on the other hand knew I was right, but still felt bad.
Of course, there is the saying, “do you want to be right or do you want to be successful?”.
In this incident, it was do you want to be right, or not verbally abused.
Of course this woman, by raising her voice, and shouting as she did, for a full 5 minutes, without a face mask, probably spewed enough droplets and germs to infect a small country.
As this woman and her face maskless family went on about their shopping, still shouting and swearing, my partner and I turned back to the shop employee behind the counter to get our order.
The shop employee was very sympathetic about the incident and said we cannot enforce the use of a mask or not, and yes it is a legal requirement.
So I asked myself, why have a law that no one can and does enforce???
The shop owners and supermarkets cannot and won’t enforce the law due to possible confrontation, or bodily harm, and the fact you may be denied service in a store if you do not have shoes or a shirt on, and you can be asked to leave if you light up a cigarette, but the face mask law is a joke.
And why is it a joke? The shops want our business. So face masks aside, no pun intended, they will still wait on and serve you, mask or not.
This is so odd, as if you are dressed inappropriately, you can be asked to leave the store. Such as a woman at a Sainsburys who recently was told her shorts were too short and to pull her top down over them.
Granted the shorts were a bit short but isn’t that what shorts are, short.
Then what about the woman in Sidney, Australia who was told her gym outfit was “too revealing”.
There are plenty more incidents such as these where women are asked to leave or “cover-up” due to what they may be wearing.
But face masks, who cares!
This all got me thinking, why have a law if it is not to be enforced?
Wait, I already said that….but it is worth mentioning again.
The government makes the law, yet does not enforce the law!? Why? Because it sounds good, it sounds like the government cares and is doing the right thing. However, they are not, caring or doing the right thing. The government wants us back in the shops, the stores, buying, spending money, and also getting back to work and school, all for the sake of the economy.
Dine out to help out, or is it…we will swamp restaurants for 3 days a week, then they will be empty, barren like a desert for the remaining 4 days.
The economy is important, very important, we all know that. It is in fact so important it is worth another 5,000, 10,000, or more of us dying from this virus.
The economy matters more than lives.
Now I know what you are thinking as you roll your conspiracy theory eyes at me.
But hear me out….
School’s Out…No It’s Back
Schools are back in session, and parents who don’t send their children back to school could face fines, could face fines.
This doesn’t mean parents will be fined, but they could be fined as a last resort. Fined for possibly protecting your children.
But you don’t have to wear a face mask in a shop and worry about a fine.
Sidenote: Instead of raising taxes to pay for the cost of this virus, maybe issue a few fines for not wearing a face mask in certain public places where they are required.
Take The Bus
I ride public transportation, at my age I have a bus pass, plus, I don’t have the expense of a car, insurance, petrol, etc, and I am keeping the planet just a wee bit cleaner; or green as they say.
However, I have noticed a lot of people on the buses not wearing face masks. And as stated like in the shops, the drivers cannot or will not enforce the law stating you must wear a face mask on a bus, train, or plane.
And it is easy to forgive the shop workers and bus drivers for not enforcing the face mask laws, lest they get beaten up and die, like the bus driver in France.
I was on the bus the other day and not only were three people without face masks, but the social distancing measures also were not being adhered to.
I have a photo I can share that shows someone sitting in a seat on the bus that states not to sit there, and in the photo, you can also see someone without a face mask.
A better David Bailey moment you will not find.
Back to Work or Face the Sack
The government is now also “threatening” us with the possible loss of our jobs if we do not go back to the offices and workplaces we worked at prior to either being furloughed or working from home.
The reason for this, the economy, we need to be in those office spaces so landlords can collect rent, local shops and pubs can have our breakfast, lunch, and after-work drinks trade.
The bottom line here is the economy is more important than a few thousand lives.
Maybe the virus has peaked and it is time to get back to the new normal, but if we are jumping the gun here, there will be a second and larger wave of this virus.
Both here in the UK and the USA, our governments are supposed to be made up of the brightest and best in every area. However, it might be argued, and argued well, that some leaders are more about surrounding themselves with those that are loyal than those that are competent.
But hey….the scientists and governments know best, they would never put us in harm’s way, like in a war or something like that. War is too overt, a pandemic is easy to hide truths.
And we here in the UK we have Dominic Cummings, who has taught us a lesson on how to test our eyes while infected with the virus. The Dom, exhibited symptoms for the virus and decided to self-isolate with his wife and young child.
He was experiencing vision issues, so while self-isolating he decided to test his eyesight by driving with his family on Easter Sunday, which was his wife’s birthday, during a lockdown, to a popular resort area over 60 miles away, to see if he could see to drive.
Makes Sense to Me…..Right!
Think about it, the economy over lives. We are asked, no told and expected now to go out, spend, work, go to school, and be in public places with other people. And as we do so, the numbers for the virus are beginning to rise.
In addition, we are having “regional” lockdowns. However, with the government “U-turns” on masks in schools and what areas are locked down, or eased on lockdowns, who really knows what is what??
The economy may rebound, some, but at what cost?
And don’t get me started about traveling to other countries, “air bridges”, quarantines, and having to end your holiday before it even starts as one country that was safe to visit today, now is not open, or safe to visit.
Who says it is safe or not?
It is almost as if the governments are making it up as they go along.
Airlines going bust, resorts never reopening, restaurants closed, the loss of thousands of jobs. The economy again.
However, the economy on a global scale.
The economy is dictating our lives, by using the puppets that are the governments.