The polarised spectrum of practitioner views on pandemic issues such as vaccines and face masks is something that will stay with me for a long time. The sector really came together early in the pandemic, but it wasn’t long before members of the profession were going out of their way to question everything: regulator actions; government decisions; efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines and mandatory vaccinations. There were times in 2020 where the profession was as fractious as I had ever seen it during more than a decade on this journal.

The College’s proposed move to green phase early this month represents an opportunity for a fresh start. The College is quick to point out that the start of the green phase doesn’t mean a return to business and practice as it was before the pandemic. Instead, adapting to the ‘new normal’ will be the focus for optometry practices up and down the home nations.

That new normal is going to look very different depending on whether you’re a patient or practitioner, and whether one feels the pandemic is over. College guidance says a fluid resistant surgical face mask should be worn when ‘there is a public health requirement to wear one, such as during a pandemic,’ and patients and visitors should use a face covering.

Adherence to mask and covering use is clearly dropping like a stone among the public, but from scouring forums, it seems that there are optometrists averse to the idea as well, which seems counter-intuitive given the requirement to maintain a physical distancing of a one metre minimum will be dropped too.

Covid-19 is still a threat and will be for quite some time. It would be nice if the optical profession could put one last shift of Kumbaya in until the virus really goes away. Then everyone can get back to moaning about multinationals and apprenticeships again.