The final countdown: restrictions set to ease

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans for the easing of restrictions from 19 July in England

people in a circle
Getty/Jelina Preethi

Whether you’re a sports fan or not, two major sporting events, the UEFA Euro 2020 and Wimbledon, have continued to take centre stage this week.

Watching these events evoked a sense of nostalgia in me for a time before the pandemic. It also offered a glimmer of hope for the future. Sports aside, I simply found it uplifting to watch people celebrate once more after a long and dreary start to the year.

As much as I would like life to return to some form of normality and see more events take place, is the timing right to lift some of the restrictions?

Earlier this week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for the easing of restrictions in England on 19 July in England, in wearing face masks will no longer be a legal requirement, remaining businesses will reopen, and social distancing rules will be scrapped. 

Since the announcement there has been a deluge of debate amongst scientists, politicians and medical professionals about the PM’s decision.

The Financial Times reported on the response within government with some words of caution expressed by the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, and England’s chief medical officer, Chris Witty.

A backlash was expressed by the opposition leader, Sir Keir Starmer. Reported in a BBC News article Starmer warned Johnson that he is leading the country into a “summer of chaos and confusion.”

However, Johnson replied that his plans to lift COVID-19 rules was “balanced and reasonable.”

The Guardian reported concerns expressed by more than 100 scientists, doctors and global experts urging Johnson to delay lifting the remaining COVID-19 restrictions, calling it “dangerous and premature.”

There is no denying that this raises many questions for many professions, especially in healthcare. So where does this leave eye care professionals?

The OT team is currently investigating the impact and will produce a detailed news report on the implications for optometrists of restrictions easing on 19 July.

We will aim to address some of the key areas of concern that you might be anticipating. Some of the discussion points will include: the easing of social distancing and how this will impact your practice; mask requirements and the rules in healthcare settings; education and training and the implications for clinical assessments and lectures; the impact on the High Street as the requirement to work from home comes to an ends and impact on domiciliary optometrists of care home restrictions easing.

We hope this will provide some reassurance to our readers about the weeks and months ahead.

How are you feeling about easing of restrictions on 19 July? If you would like to share your thoughts please get in touch with the OT team.

Would you like to keep social distancing measures in place in your practice after the 19 July?

  • Yes, I would like to keep these measures until there is more guidance by optical bodies on healthcare settings

    124 23%
  • Yes, I would like to keep these measures until more people are vaccinated

    18 3%
  • Undecided, there is not enough information for me to make an informed decision yet

    5 0%
  • Yes, I would like to keep these measures until I feel it is safe to remove them

    345 64%
  • No. If the Government rules change, I would like these measures removed

    47 8%