After months under strict lockdown, the easing of restrictions has provided a glimmer of hope for many. But are people now finding any excuse to break the rules, even if just a little bit? By Sarah Bradbury.

A few weeks ago, the most you would “push it” would be for a second trip out or an illicit sit on a bench with a homemade sarnie.

Perhaps now, you’ve met up with not one friend from another household in the park at a 2m distance, but two. Maybe you drove more than is reasonable to spend a couple of hours by the beach. Maybe you were in a mate’s garden having a few cheeky cocktails – but socially distanced ones of course!

Inevitably though, there is a domino effect to everyone breaking the rules “just a little bit.” You ask yourself why you are making yourself suffer estranged from your loved ones when everyone else seems to be doing what they like.

And the potential cumulative effect of all these micro transgressions is infection transmission picks up momentum again and we see a second peak.

It seems the announcement last week may have opened the floodgates to the public getting a little too relaxed about following lockdown rules. Though if you ask anyone, they always have a great excuse. And are very quick to name and shame anyone else doing the same thing.

I’ve certainly looked around the patch of grass next to my house and found myself passing judgement on whether those four people laughing giddily around a bottle of rose are actually all housemates…

And is there a bit of an unsettling class divide to the whole thing? Those that have their big gardens to hold their social distancing gatherings and second homes outside the city will take advantage of them in secret but tutt and shake their heads at images of packed beaches.

They’ll happily pay over the odds for their gardener or hairdresser or plastic surgeon to keep working behind closed doors (let’s not even get started on cleanergate…), because, you know, these are things they really need. But wouldn’t fathom hopping on a tube to go to work themselves.

Have you been breaking the rules (even if only a little bit…)?

First published on #ThisMuchIKnow.