“A FEW DAYS ago, I went to my hairdresser on Ledra Street for a cut and as I was having my hair washed two plainclothes cops entered. They approached a woman who was having her hair dyed and demanded to see the SMS on her phone authorising her to go to the hairdresser.

The woman got a bit a nervous as having realised that she had written the message but had not sent it. She showed the female cop questioning her that she had written the SMS but had forgotten to press ‘send’ and the cop let her off. If cops raiding hairdressers to check on the customers is not a police state tactic, I do not know what is.

The woman was in a hairdresser’s because the police state had decreed they could open and take customers. Was there any justification for the cops to come into the hairdresser’s to inspect whether she had state permission to be there? She was not putting anyone at risk, she was wearing her face mask and she was four metres away from me, the only other customer.”

Tales from the Coffeeshop, last Sunday

He’s got a point.

Currently, we are allowed to leave the house a maximum of twice a day. To do so, I am required to send a SMS containing my zip code, my ID number and a reason code, for why I’m out. From the time I send the text, I have three hours.

Every morning, the dogs and I head off into the countryside. The ramble does all three of us the world of good. As I go more than 500m from my house, I have to send a text. Most days, that’s it for me. Perhaps I might need to pick up a takeaway once a week, or even get a haircut.

This week, to my delight, the golf courses are open again. Why they were ever closed is a question in itself, however, not one for today. A round of golf typically takes 4 to 5 hours. It doesn’t take me that long - but the nature of golf courses is that everyone has to play at the pace of the slowest group, which plays at the pace of the slowest player. My golf course is a 30 minute drive from home. The mathematicians amongst you will have already seen the problem. Best case scenario, I am going to be away from the house for five hours. Five, being more than three.

The official advice is that I should send the first text, leave the house and then, three hours later, send another text, extending my permission. It’s still not terribly practical, and I am at the mercy of every player on the golf course, but I’m that desperate to get out, I’ll make it work.

What about the poor dogs though? No walk for them? What if I need milk, or bread?

The twin arrival of the first spring-like weather and the first vaccines has given everyone here an injection of hope and optimism. Along with that optimism comes impatience. Why open hairdressers or golf courses and then require people to ask permission to use them? It makes no sense, and people will seize on these inconsistencies. The danger is that resentment and “restriction-fatigue” will drive people to ignore not only the stupid rules, but the sensible ones too.

The government needs to act swiftly to retain the support of the populace.

What I fear the most is the cumulative effect. For the rest of this year, and much of next (minimum), we will be living with some restrictions. Critical will be the need to get everybody vaccinated.

Simple, make it mandatory.

Hmmm…I’m not sure that as simple as some believe. I will get vaccinated. I will urge others to get vaccinated. I would hope that I’m in the majority. However, some will argue that the state has no mandate or mechanism to coerce vaccination.

While the virus thrives in pockets, it will continue to mutate, potentially to a strain where it can infect vaccinated people again. Oh please, No.

That’s why people who choose not to vaccinate will not be welcome at my table or in my house.

We all need to advocate for vaccines. Health experts need to keep testing and trialing, making the case. Tech giants need to fight disinformation. Governments need to be nimble, persuasive and clear-headed.

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