Comment: Are confusing lockdown rules bringing out the worst in us?

PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:13 22 April 2020

People have been reporting their neighbours to police for breaking lockdown restrictions - but their assumptions haven't always been accurate. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

People have been reporting their neighbours to police for breaking lockdown restrictions - but their assumptions haven't always been accurate. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Graham Oliver

Living in lockdown isn’t easy for any of us, but the thing I’ve found most uncomfortable has been the judgement and shaming.

If you need a supermarket shop, do you queue round Sainsbury’s car park for an hour or endlessly refresh the website in a bid to get an online slot?

If the latter, are you selfishly taking this virtual shopping opportunity from an elderly person/key worker whose need is greater?

If the former, are you selfishly putting your life and those of supermarket staff/your family at risk by venturing out?

And if you do go out, should you wear gloves and/or a mask, and if so, what type? There’s judgement there too.

There have been stories of single mums shamed for shopping with their kids, or nurses left with angry notes from neighbours for leaving the house too regularly (not knowing they were heading to the hospital to, y’know, save lives).

Police have received reports of people ‘walking their dog twice in one day’ and rowdy parties that turned out to be Zoom calls.

Then there are the hypocrites. Everyone’s preaching #stayhome and #savelives, but many are then off partying on the quiet, or, in the case of Scotland’s former chief medical officer, heading to their second home.

Panic does funny things to people, and an obsessive need to follow the rules is one of them - and the latest police guidelines on what is and isn’t allowed during lockdown aren’t proving massively helpful.

Turns out, contrary to the belief of many, driving to the countryside for a walk is reasonable - as long as “far more time” is spent walking than driving.

And while buying paint and brushes “simply to redecorate a kitchen” isn’t considered a legit excuse for hitting the shops, buying “tools and supplies to repair a fence panel” is fine. No wonder we’re all confused.

Regardless, I reckon most of us are genuinely trying to do the right thing, and if we all calmed down and cut each other some slack we’d be so much happier.


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