So many people had fears over Freedom Day but it has not turned out to be so bad. Many are still choosing to wear face masks but it is increasingly clear that people are regaining their confidence to go out and about as normal.
On Sunday, my parish priest announced in church that Mass would largely be returning to normal from next Sunday and I suspect that this will mean that singing will be allowed again – freedom carries mixed blessings. I think that the parishioners will need clear instructions about how to actively participate as, if I am anything to go by, we will have all forgotten.
One of the biggest surprises, now that society is opening up again, is that many sectors are struggling to recruit staff. This is particularly true in the hospitality sector. It is hard to know what the main cause of this is. Having finally left the EU may mean that some people have returned to their home country and this is likely to be more significant as so many could not work over the period of Covid lockdowns.
Furlough may be keeping others off the jobs market so it will be interesting to see, as things return to normal, how many people return to their old job or seek new opportunities.
Often, it is difficult to recruit the people with the right skills so I will look forward to employers investing in the training of their staff. This is especially important as boosting skills means that people will be paid more.
Emerging from the series of Covid lockdowns should mean that we can look forward to the whole of society returning to normal but I am not sure that this is going to be true. The Prime Minister has promised that there will be no turning back but there are some significant worries.
The House of Commons has already voted for compulsory vaccinations in care home settings and it is understood that it will apply to all visitors as well. This will include delivery drivers and people going in to repair the boiler or electrics. What I find slightly perplexing is that it does not also apply to the National Health Service as well. I would have thought that it is equally necessary for hospitals to have the same requirement as for care homes to either have compulsory vaccination or to avoid compulsory vaccination.
I have asked some senior people in the NHS what they thought about this and they were very keen to impose vaccinations in care home settings but were dead against it in the NHS. I suspect that it may come down the line and will cause major problems as significant numbers of doctors and nurses will refuse. It will be even worse to see people forced out of their jobs that they have been dedicated to through the most difficult of times of the Covid crisis when no one had the vaccine.
Just as we are seeing the roll out of compulsory vaccinations, we see that the Government want to impose vaccine passports. They are in a confused position at the moment and will not set out the scope of the policy. The only thing more confusing is to know to what extent Sir Keir Starmer agrees or disagrees with Boris Johnson on this or anything else.
When so many tens of millions of people have volunteered to have their first and second dose then there is no just reason to impose either compulsory vaccinations or national identity cards in the form of covid status certificates.
When we think of domestic vaccine passports many will turn their minds to having a break from things and going on holiday. It is rather a risk to think of going abroad and it could be a rather expensive mistake.
It costs £1,700 to stay in a quarantine hotel for the required two weeks and far more for a family. We cannot predict what countries will move from green to amber then flashing amber and then on to red status. Many will sensibly use their freedom of choice to stay local for their summer break.