TOMORROW was supposed to be Britain’s great reopening.
We have kept being promised that life will get back to normal and the Covid days will be put behind us.
But will they? Large portions of the public keep telling the pollsters that they are afraid to return to normal life.
Politicians keep vying with each other to look more cautious than each other.
In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has decided to order his own mask policy.
Transport For London police will be patrolling the capital’s Underground looking for passengers not covering their nose and mouth with a mask.
Free and open
And this is after the Government had said that mask-wearing should be optional.
Everywhere there is this terrible fearfulness. Millions are having to isolate and, yesterday, even Health Secretary Sajid Javid tested positive.
But Britain has to make a choice.
Do we want to stay in some form of Covid lockdown for ever?
Or do we want to get back out? And not just out of our houses, but out into the rest of the world?
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I have been in the fortunate position of spending part of the past year in America.
And there I can tell you things are very different.
Partly because different states can have different rules, America has been much freer ever since the start of the pandemic.
Some state governors were strict, like in California. Some wanted their state to be as free and open as possible, like Florida.
As a result there are parts of America where life has been almost normal throughout the pandemic.
Now even the most left-wing cities are realising that they have to get going again.
At the height of the pandemic, New York was one of the epicentres of the virus.
A huge warship even docked at the city ready to take the sick and dying on board.
Hart Island, just near the Bronx, opened up a mass grave to put Covid victims in.
As a result New Yorkers used to be among the strictest mask-enforcers anywhere in America.
People yelled at you in the street a year ago if you weren’t wearing the correct face attire.
However, now New Yorkers know that they have to get back to work again. And they have been eager to get going.
They know the Big Apple cannot slumber along in a state of 2020 financial slump.
The vaccine rollout there has been a success, as in the UK.
But unlike the UK, New York is raring to go again. Everywhere you go in the city, normal life has restarted.
The left-wing governor and mayor have allowed almost all Covid restrictions to be lifted. Because they know that if they don’t, the city will die.
Back on its feet
People can walk into a pharmacy and get the vaccine, or in some states visit a drive-through vaccine centre.
And that allows them — and the city — to live again. Compare this with still- slumbering London.
The vaccine is the way out of this for America, just as it is for all of us.
But in Britain there are huge chunks of people who seem not to realise this.
Many of our politicians are among them. It is time that they do realise it. And fast.
Because Britain hasn’t just got to get back on its feet again. It has to get out there and compete with the world again. It’s time we did that.
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