A Plea

This is just a polite request from me to anyone reading from the UK.

Please don’t break the lockdown rules.

Don’t travel from areas of high virus transmission to areas where rates are lower. That puts at risk the residents of the place you’re travelling to. If it’s an area of lower virus transmission then it’s also probably a less densely populated area, which means it will have less hospital capacity to cope with a surge in admissions, and less resilience as a community to bounce back from an outbreak.

Don’t travel from an area of lower virus transmission to an area of higher transmission either. Because the same thing might happen when you come back.

Some people tell me they have no respect for the lockdown rules because they don’t make sense. There are conflicts of logic regarding some of the things we can and can’t do, for sure. We can’t visit relatives in hospital but footballers can still meet from all over the country to play Premier League matches, for example. But there is even less logic to saying, “these lockdown rules don’t make sense” or “the lockdown rules don’t go far enough” and using that as a reason to disregard them. Isn’t there?

I won’t be the first person lining up to support the British Government in most arenas but no-one can deny that for states, and scientists, to learn about how this virus works and how we can live with it, we need to experiment with different ways of socialising (or not). The science loses power the more the participants deviate from the experiment protocol. If everyone followed the guidance to the letter then we would know much sooner, say, if the one metre rule was as good as the two metre rule, or if sharing a car with others with masks on makes a difference. The fewer of us that follow the rules of the experiment, the more the science is diluted and it becomes difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. If you’re offended by the notion of being ‘experimented on’ then tough; we’re in a pandemic the scale of which humanity hasn’t seen since 1918. There’s no other way around it.

If you believe that herd immunity is the answer then, the only way to test that theory is to move to a country whose government is doing that ‘experiment’. You can’t establish herd immunity by yourself, so you’re just confounding both experiments if you choose to disregard your local advice.

I get that the lockdown is hard. Especially if you live in a built-up area with limited opportunities to enjoy nature and space to yourself. Perhaps you find your environment uninspiring, or perhaps it holds no mystique for you any more. Maybe you’re battling mental health problems, or social isolation. But now is not a time for living the best lives we can. It’s a time for looking after each other even if we have to sacrifice some freedoms to do it. And it’s a time for getting creative about how we use our time to help ourselves and others.

Please don’t take your next long weekend exploring the place on the top of your wish list if it takes you out of your community and into contact with people you wouldn’t normally mix with. What can you find to do that fits within the rules and still gives you the mental escape or connectivity with others that you need (or at least a little bit of it)? Can you start a virtual club with all the friends you used to cycle with? You could all share photos with coffee and cake over a video call at the end. Could you explore some unknown roads in your locality, and blog about it? Could you invent a ‘sportive’ loop, share it with others, start a leaderboard, award prizes for the best wildlife spot on the route? Even if your local options are limited, you can still contrive of a challenge that brings fulfilment. Look to people like Captain Tom Moore and his laps of the garden, or the challengers who took on Everest by climbing flights of their own stairs, for encouragement.

This is a mental game for sure. We’ll all come out of it psychologically more robust if we can tell ourselves that we’ve acted honourably, we’ve been compassionate towards one other and we’ve used our mental flexibility to find ways to cope with the restrictions. And the more of us that follow the rules, the quicker this should all be over!

And if nothing else, I’ll be proud of you 👍

So as much as I blab on about how lovely Dumfries & Galloway is, out of respect for the health of our community please don’t visit if the rules don’t permit it. 🙏

With so much love in lockdown,


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