The CPF’s Discussion on Post Lockdown Recovery
Held on Thursday 10 June at 7m with 10 CDG members taking part
Outline of Key Issues Raised by Members of the CDG:
Would you support making particular activities contingent on proof of vaccination or testing for SARS‑CoV‑2?
Members were divided about this. Those with mental health conditions found the Government pilots of requiring proof of the vaccine stressful increasing their anxiety as they navigated the bureaucracy.
They also pointed out that it was difficult to obtain non-digital proof of vaccination – which was also stressful. They were concerned for people without mobile phones who could not obtain paper-proof of vaccination. GPs refer people to 111 who are often too busy to link vaccination records to certificates or the NHS app.
Members with disabilities who are more at risk of dying from Covid were anxious at the thought of going somewhere without knowing the other people were vaccinated or had tested negative.
There was a discussion about how best to prove people have been vaccinated that included more sturdy cards then the paper ones currently given out for people without mobile phones.
One member with Cerebral Palsy is unstable on their feet and is concerned about getting too close to people as a result in more crowded places – making them all feel less safe.
Most members feel safer working from home and feel they are just as productive. But pointed out that some work colleagues were eager to return to the work place. Members felt the work place moving forward should be flexible enough to accommodate all needs.
It was pointed out that employers have a duty to keep employees safe while at the workplace. This could put pressure on them to exclude vulnerable employees from the workplace if they do not make vaccines compulsory. Legal cases are likely to open up in the future with employees claiming their employers were negligent if they contract Covid at work.
- International Travel: 'Yes' - 10 & 'No' - 0
- Large events like football matches: 'Yes' - 5 & 'No' - 10
- A return to certain workplaces: 'Yes' - 6 & 'No' - 10
How do we exit lockdown in a way that helps to level-up the UK?
Venues need to be made more accessible with handrails and ramps, especially in buildings without lifts as many disabled people find it difficult to move around buildings without them. There needs to be more understanding of invisible disabilities and how environments impact on them.
All members felt the home-working that has become the norm has been a ‘God-send’ to them and they hope it continues post-lockdown for those that benefit from it.
There was a discussion around the power of the private sector in success stories including developing the vaccine so swiftly, designing and building ventilators and building the Nightingale Hospitals. There was a feeling that with more use of the private sector by the NHS we could improve one of the best things about our country which is the National Health Service.
Everyone agreed that broadband needs levelling up so no communities are left with a poor or non-existent service. Public transport needs be more accessible, particularly stations where there is often no lift from one platform to another or to the exit.
How do we rebuild communities, charities and our social fabric?
Members were very positive about how their communities had come together to support one another during the pandemic and were keen for restrictions to ease so they could get back to supporting each other face-to-face.
One member made the point that virtual meet-ups had strengthened their community as they brought more people together.
How do we balance support for the rapid return of the hospitality sector and arts sectors on the one hand with public health concerns on the other?
Members generally felt that people are starting to become more relaxed about following covid guidance such as wearing masks, social distancing and sanitising their hands. They felt the government need to keep pushing public health messaging so people still behave in a covid-secure way.
It was felt that as young people have returned to school they are remaining in large groups outside of school – and not social distancing from others who do not feel safe.
There was a discussion about keeping some social distancing in hospitality venues by keeping a seat free between groups until the Government is certain that the vaccine can protect people from all strains of the virus.
Some members felt their local shops were starting to remove their one-way systems and other covid-secure practices, while others felt they were as stringent as they have ever been. Some felt businesses would never remove some covid secure aspects such as plastic screens.
It was suggested that drinks such as cider and beer should only be served from their bottles which would also help to keep people safe from date rape drugs.
Some members felt there should be more incentives for people to receive the vaccine.
There was a discussion about Government messaging and what the purpose of the vaccine is. Is it to prevent people from contracting Covid or is it to free up NHS capacity so fewer people die if they do contract it?
The evening concluded with a discussion about the environmental impact of people throwing their masks in the street and how this could be prevented.
Michelle Lowe - Deputy Chairman, CDG