Gone are the days of nostalgically pining for the club, the pub, the cinema, and generally the Outside World. We’re almost back to before times, as Boris Johnson works on lifting the last of the Covid restrictions in the UK.
But despite the strangely low case numbers and the “world-beating” vaccine system we’ve seen in the last few months, many of us still feel a lot of anxiety over going back to ‘normal’. Yes, you can legally drink outside in groups now and stay out till your heart’s content, but the Delta variant rages on and some say the recent dip in cases may be temporary. The pingdemic is truly still around.
Which is why some people are finding it difficult to commit to plans at all. Cases being highest among people in their 20s, the fact that you can still get Covid after being double-jabbed (and carry it), and worries about other variants are causing people to decline invitations.
So how do you tell a pal or another loved one that you just don’t want to go for brunch, or meals out, or go ‘out out’ without hurting their feelings?
For 26-year-old Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, who had to be ultra careful as to not infect her immunocompromised grandparents, the sudden lifting of restrictions hasn’t made her abandon the caution she took this past year.
“When restrictions were around, for people who don’t take the pandemic that seriously, there was a legal framework – there were consequences. But I was even more cautious than the rules would stipulate. With the complete removal of restrictions, it’s anxiety-inducing because then you don’t even have this scapegoat of the rules,” Manzoor-Khan, from Leeds, tells HuffPost UK.
“For the past 16 months. I’ve been in this mode of having to be cautious on behalf of my high-risk grandparents, and just being so wary and so careful about everything and then suddenly being told restrictions are lifted – everyone else is acting like it’s over now but it’s not. I think it really like messes with your mind and I don’t know how to shift that mindset.
“I missed a couple of weddings during last year and some of my friends got married this year, but now it feels much harder to communicate why I’m not comfortable because legally you can, and it confuses people when I say no.”