No lockdown breakdown in Bank Holiday ghost town Inverness

The new normal, Bank Holiday Saturday afternoon in Inverness.

Coronavirus crisis

by Colin Campbell                                                                                                                    Sunday, May 10

IS the lockdown breaking down? That was a major concern elsewhere in the country as people headed in significant numbers in warm sunshine on Bank Holiday outings to parks and other locations where the need for social distancing seemed to be all but forgotten.

In the London borough of Hackney police said on Twitter: “Sadly we’re fighting a losing battle in the parks today. Literally hundreds of people sitting having pizza, beers, wines, As always a big thank you to those that are observing the guidelines.”

Whether or not the citizens of Inverness deserve a big thank you is a moot point. But while the Highland capital is around 500 miles from Hackney, the scenes there on Saturday could have come from a different planet.

Social distancing went by the board yesterday in parks in London.

On a rain drenched afternoon in Inverness the streets were virtually empty. The social distancing rules were being precisely followed – 110 per cent.

Life in Inverness even in these difficult times is much less testing than it is in a major city where space is limited, the number of people wanting to access it is immense, and being confined to an urban jungle of tower blocks and densely populated streets is unlike anything anyone here has to endure.

With the number of coronavirus infections reported across the Highlands still, at the last count, in the low hundreds, we are getting off relatively lightly, although those who have lost loved ones are suffering as much as anyone.

But even allowing for the differences in population sizes and density, there have been virtually no reports here of people flouting the guidelines, with a very small number of police penalties issued and only a tiny handful of arrests, mainly the result of noisy house parties being held.

On Saturday afternoon, yet again, the city centre was a ghost town, with not a soul to be seen.

A couple of stores were open, and a few takeaways, still feeding homes in the city mainly with home deliveries.

Not a Saturday afternoon soul to be seen in the centre of Inverness…the next visual shock to the system will be when some life finally returns to the place.

Anyone viewing this now familiar scenario is liable to have mixed feelings, even as people grow accustomed to the current situation.

On the one hand, it is good that people mainly seem to be staying at home and following the established guidelines.

On the other hand it is sad and dispiriting to see the once-bustling centre of the Highland capital reduced to being empty and lifeless on a Saturday afternoon – a scenario that could prevail for months to come.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tonight make a statement which is expected to involve small adjustments on easing the lockdown, but which will barely be a first step on the return to life as normal, or even to the “new normal”.

Anyone who ventures into the city centre these days will now probably have become fully accustomed to the sense of desolation it offers up.

The next visual shock to the system – whenever that comes – will be when that starts to change and some hustling, bustling life returns to the place.

One thought on “No lockdown breakdown in Bank Holiday ghost town Inverness

  1. The lockdown is not to do with health in my opinion. There was no lockdown in 1969 with the Hong Kong Flu. It appears a power grab by the government with the virus being used to do so. An interesting interview with a U.N rappontuer about the control measures put in place It also appears to be a major step in the eradication of cash which is quite frightening. The virus appears to be no worse than seasonal Flu yet we are told to prepare for a new normal with social distancing, which itself has no scientific basis. There is talk of it being reduced to 1.5metres, which is hard to take seriously. There are several alarming things going on at the moment, which are concerning. For example Google’s Deepmind were at the Sage meetings before any of the public knew their names and we still don’t know them all fully. I also find it concerning Chris Whitty our Chief Medical Officer is joining the WHO board this year (see doc: eur/rc69/7) when the country is taking advice from them on the virus. Surely a conflict of interest? The mass censorship of any alternative views is almost like we are living in some fascist state, with people being blasted for having their business open but urged to clap for the NHS. The NHS won’t save peoples businesses and jobs. The NHS will need saving because of the lockdown, not because of the virus. The country seems to be heading more and more towards a surveillance state, very much like China. I fear this more than the virus.


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