No petting, no overtaking


My memory of going to the swimming baths is punctuated with a small number of things, the sting of chlorine in your nose, the sense of cold when you first enter the water, how sticky your clothes were when you put them on again, the taste of hot chocolate from a plastic cup to recover your strength and the sign on the walls around the pool.

Official signs, with pictures that looked like road signs, warning patrons to behave themselves. No running, no bombing and no petting. I’m sure I’m not alone in remembering them even if it is too long since I was at the baths. They were very effective even if, at the time, they came across as authoritarian.

Perhaps the time is now right for something similar. The World Health Organisation’s advice for reducing the spread of Covid-19 is quite simple:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Practice respiratory hygiene
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  • Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Putting these in pictures would be even more effective.

I have a couple of other signs to add however, a one way and no overtaking sign. We all have to eat and so going to the shops cannot be avoided. Even if they become much more quiet than they may usually be, maintaining social distancing is difficult as everyone is milling around as the hunter gatherers we are.

My suggestion is that supermarkets introduce a one way system. Everyone goes around the shop following each other, keeping at least a metre away and not overtaking anyone. Yes, it will take longer, will be frustrating at times but will add a degree of greater protection to customers and staff.

After all, many of us have more time on our hands than usual. Stay safe.

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