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You could be forgiven for thinking that no lock-down exists in parts of London at times. I was shocked one day during the height of the lock-down period to observe one landlord bring his wife to meet and greet a group of five prospective tenants to conduct a tour of his newly acquired and still vacant two bedroom London flat which just happened to located on the top floor of the apartment block where I live.
Ordinarily I would take little notice of the comings and goings of visitors to the block. But this occasion was different of course precisely because London was in the middle of what was supposed to be a period of strict lock-down.
I was alerted when what appeared to be a group of people congregating outside the block entrance gates. It is impossible not to notice as the gates form an integral part of the view from my flat. I assumed they were probably waiting for a friend perhaps to go on their daily exercise walk or something like that.
But being fully aware that the government had prohibited groups of more than two people from meeting up I felt such a gathering to be somewhat strange and it clearly was a breach of the Lockdown rules. But no they were all at the block to view a vacant apartment.
I could not help feeling angry by their behaviour because I had been diligently locked in self isolation in my home for over ten days and felt aggrieved that others could so brazenly flout the rules, the rules that were implemented to protect our NHS and save lives.
When this landlord arrived in his car with his wife he showed the entire group into the block. Yes seven people crammed through the narrow foyer with no masks and no social distancing to speak of, to view this mans vacant property a small two bedroom apartment. Like the one I live in but he was proposing to house five people in it.
I saw this gathering as a sort of invasion by health trespassers, posing a potential threat to my personal health and well-being as the group could potentially bring the disease close to or into my home. At the very least it would increase the risk of virus spreading in the communal areas as all seven people would have likely used communal hand rails and door handles.
I did speak to the man as he approached my window when he saw me staring out and asked what I was looking at. I asked him to back off and I opened my window. He claimed there was only four people and that they were family, but I did video the group and it was five.
He lied. Also I do not believe they were family as this would be highly unusual that a family of five adults would seek to view a two bedroom apartment. More likely a group of students or workers looking for a flat share. When I told him of my ire he did acknowledge that he should have been wearing masks and gloves and such a group was to large.
He did appear several times in the following weeks dressed wearing PPE and showing smaller groups, but he did have workers at his flat, who did not wear PPE and sat on our front steps smoking and leaving cigarette buts everywhere.
On one other day I noticed two tenants at the block meet as they returned home. They began chatting, as if they were friends or knew each other. One a youngish woman and her child and the other a middle aged man. The man was friendly and entertained the kid, lifting and swinging her, whilst all the time having a cigarette hanging from his mouth.
He them put the kid down and continued to smoke, putting his potentially infected hands to his face. They two adults later tried to exchange phone numbers, the man seemingly struggling to put the number in his smart phone decided it would be easier if he passed his mobile phone to woman so that she could enter her phone details into his contacts I suppose! So after she touched his phone he took it back and continued smoking putting his hands to his face. I was astonished.
Apart from the fact that these people are creating unnecessary Corona-virus risks to themselves, they were also loitering around the block entrance and foyer area. Not only is strictly prohibited by the terms of the landlords lease, but it makes passing such a group at close quarters unavoidable.
People loitering enjoying the sun is to be expected from time to time, under normal circumstances but under the current Corona-virus lock-down restrictions these people should be more self aware of the fact that they risk spreading virus and others do not wish to pass so close by them to enter our own homes.
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