New updates on the Coronavirus have been issued by the UK government today, which include avoiding any “non-essential” travel and contact with others and avoiding pubs, clubs theatres and social gatherings. If you haven’t already decided to cancel ringing activities, it seems that now is the time to do so.
We must all ensure that we are following the most up to date advice from the Chief Medical Officer (or overseas equivalent) with regard to the Covid 19 outbreak. Of course the Central Council is not in a position to provide professional advice, however there are some simple guidelines to consider to ensure that we adopt sensible precautions and support each other through a period of rapid change and uncertainty. The advice is changing almost daily and the latest messages concern potential restriction of movement of people over the age of 70 in the coming weeks, if not sooner.
The demographics of the ringing community has a large proportion who fit in to the over 70 year old and/or medically vulnerable category, and ringers can be quite stubborn when it comes to continuing ringing, insisting that we “keep calm and carry on”. However, under the current circumstances, we have a duty to be responsible for ourselves and towards others we ring with. If you fit into a category that has been advised to socially distance yourself, please heed that advice. If not for you, then to help prevent putting other people at risk.
Having said that, socially distancing yourself can create a sense of isolation, and we must ensure that we maintain contact with our ringing friends, and offer any help and support where we can. Please check in with those who are advised to stay home, phone them for a chat to ask how they are, drop them a quick text, Whatsapp or social media message to let them know they haven’t been forgotten.
If you find yourself self isolating, consider how you might get your ringing fix if not on the end of a rope. There are many apps for phones and computers that you can utilise to learn methods, practise listening skills and so on. There’s a multitude of YouTube videos on various aspects of ringing, ringing up and down, rope splicing and many other tower tasks that need doing. Get out some good old paper and pencil to write out methods, learn the place notation, write out touches etc – that’ll keep you busy for hours! Keep in touch with friends on the various bellringing social media communities, maybe even start one of your own. Get that tower website up to date. Get around to writing up last year’s tower AGM minutes. Plan what you are going to do once the restrictions have been lifted, maybe organise a reunion.
Keep up to date with the latest advice from the government, ensure that you support each other, keep calm and keep safe.