Going to get a coffee from Costa is not an essential journey

Costa Drive Thru at Ransomes Euro Park in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Costa Drive Thru at Ransomes Euro Park in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Mark Murphy says we have to be really careful about relaxing lockdown

We’re all waiting to see what Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces to the nation tomorrow evening. I’m as keen as anyone to hear what he has to say.

It’s been a big topic of debate on my BBC Radio Suffolk breakfast show this week with some of my callers suggesting ways of easing the lockdown and others saying it should get even tougher than it is now.

Other listeners called in saying they thought with busier roads some people had given up on it already!

Whatever the PM’s so called roadmap suggests we’ve got to take it slowly and carefully.

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We’re still losing hundreds of people every day to this awful virus and not a day goes by when we don’t lose someone here in Suffolk.

It’s easy to think of these as just numbers on a graph but they’re not. Each one is a mother, father, grandparent, brother, sister, friend, work colleague or neighbour. We mustn’t lose sight of that and feel like it won’t happen to me, well it might!

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At the moment my week consists of a 3.30 am alarm call and then into work for my radio show. We’re running on skeleton staff in the building with the majority of my colleagues working from home. Then at lunchtime it’s straight back to mine.

Normally I might pop to the garden centre or for a mooch around town but not now. I really, really do not want to catch this virus particularly as I’m an overweight man of a certain age, who knows how it would affect me. So yes I’m worried and it’s going to take an awfully long time for me to stop worrying. That’s why I can’t understand why some people are blatantly ignoring the guidelines from the government. Are they from the planet Kryptonite and feel indestructible? I think some people have taken the Prime Minister’s message the other day that we’re through the peak of this as a green light to do what they want.

We all heard what happened when Costa Coffee opened its drive through last weekend in Ipswich. Hundreds of people descended on it, blocking the roads and the police had to come and sort it out. Costa had every right to open up but all my callers couldn’t believe how a takeaway coffee could ever be an essential journey and I have to agree. Goodness knows what it’ll be like when McDonalds opens up again!

So when things do start to open up, as members of the public we’ve got to play our part otherwise with hordes of people descending on an establishment, chaos could ensue and we could see the virus spreading again.

What could change? My callers suggested that garden centres open up. We see the likes of B and Q and Homebase open selling plants so why not our garden centres? With limited numbers and social distancing, maybe that could work. Golfers were keen to point out their sport could easily be played with distancing in place. Anglers pointed that theirs is a solitary sport and maybe they could start fishing again.

Some callers couldn’t understand why on the one hand we’re staying at home and yet people who’ve been flying into the United Kingdom from all over the world aren’t having any checks when they enter the country.

It’s important that we have a clear and transparent message from the PM and devolved governments or we could end up like the United States where people seem to be doing whatever they like.

I guess there are a few things that could start up in a sensible way but we’ll just have to wait and see what Mr Johnson comes up with. Whatever he says let’s not rush and undo the work we’ve done to try and keep this virus at bay. Why not call me on Monday morning and give me your thoughts. In the meantime stay safe and keep your distance!

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