After nine or so weeks in lock down, tempers are fraying. Frustrations are bubbling over even though there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly some of the restrictions are being lifted yet I am left asking myself the question. Are the COVID-19 restrictions discriminatory? Unfortunately I think the answer is yes.
What I mean is that the way that lock down is being lifted is affecting different people in different ways and is, at times making life more difficult for certain groups and individuals.
We have been made aware that the death toll from the virus has been disproportionately high in the BAME community. Why, is yet to be determined yet this knowledge must play into any decisions that the government makes.
But what of the discrimination that we are not aware of. Take for example the fact that you are now allowed to go out and exercise for as long as we want. We can go to the park yet the public toilets are closed. I presume this is to prevent people from lingering too long and to reduce possible transmission yet such a move is discriminatory to women, the disabled and older people.
It is much easier for men to go to the toilet when away from home than it is for women, while some disabled and older people need to go to the toilet more often. By relaxing the restrictions in this way is discriminating against these individuals.
Also the non-essential shops are going to open. People are expected to go back to work or to shop as we used to yet the childcare arrangements to allow people to go back to work are still very limited. If you can’t get childcare and you can’t get back to work what is going to happen to your job? What is going to happen to your child? In truth, it is still the case that most childcare is done by women and so any relaxation that makes it difficult for people to go back to work due to childcare issues is, by its very nature, discriminatory.
I don’t envy the government in the choices that it has to make but I ask that it considers and thinks through all aspects of its policies and how they affect individuals and specific groups before implementing them. It might even be a good idea to ask them first.