So on March 19th 2020 I sat with my partner to listen to Boris Johnson's unprecedented broadcast to the nation. We were about to be put on lockdown from Monday 23rd due to the pandemic sweeping rapidly world wide.
My first instinct was more of worry, what would it mean for us, our work, our family our friends? The fear of the unknown has always given me anxiety and to be in a situation in which we could only go to work if it was necessary and couldn't work from home, to only go to the supermarket for essentials and 1 hours exercise a day.
I went to my office, unknowingly for the last time in a year, to see how we would move forward and find out how I would be trying to do my day to day job, up until now I'd been cancelling appointments and looking at rescheduling them for who knows when. IT were scrambling about for the past couple of weeks trying to kit out everyone with the essential tools so we could support our customers in this strange time. A small group of us were in the office discussing the events of the night before from the TV broadcast when we saw a sudden stream of people carrying out laptops, keyboards, note pads filling their cars with all that they needed. One of my colleagues then shouted out 'he's not seriously trying to get an office chair in to the boot of the his Audi!' Yep we all gazed out as three people stood around the open boot of an Audi TT discussing how best to fit the chair in to the car! They did it after much thought and a fair few attempts. I then headed off to IT to collect what I needed, not that it was much, a laptop and extra screen had me sorted and so the start of my time working at home began.
Staying at home and away from others (social distancing)The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay athome in order to protect the NHS and save lives.When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spreadof the infection. That is why the government has introduced three new measures
With the UK upside down a hashtag brought us together, albeit once a week, people stopped every Thursday evening at 8pm to clap for those who were still working on the front lines from shop works to NHS paramedics to nursery staff and everyone in between.
With non essential travel banned requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purpose, closing certain businesses as well as venues and stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public. My fiancee was furloughed for 3 weeks initially as her nursery setting was kept open to look after keyworker staff. Bars, restaurants, betting shops and other non essential shops were closed. Food shopping became a harder task to undertake with items such as tinned food, dried pasta and toilet rolls being limited to a few per person, if and when there was stock due to a certain number of people panic buying at the very start of lockdown.
All hospitality had to conform to strict rules to ensure they were #PubSafe, one way in and out, masks were required and no mixing of households following on from The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme (EOHO Scheme) was one of the Government’s policy measures aimed to support businesses reopening after the COVID-19 lockdown period. It formed part of the Chancellor’s summer economic update on 8 July ending in late August 2020.
With travel restrictions easing we booked to visit Cornwall in early September 2020, our first break away in a year and much needed after the stress of what had previously gone on. We knew we had to make the most of it as things could change once again and within a few weeks of being home they started to rapidly.
The promise of Christmas
The Prime Minister set out how the government will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England.
Addressing MPs before hosting a Downing Street press conference, he confirmed the levels will be set at medium, high, and very high. This was all an effort to ensure all restrictions would be lifted for Christmas so that we could all see family and friends without any compromise.
From midnight, on December 20th 2020, a new tier four will be introduced in areas including London, Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire. Those in tier four cannot mix indoors with anyone not from their household, so any plans we had to family at Christmas were dashed. Having to compromise on who we saw was not an easy decision but myself and my partner spent the night with her mother. My sister spent Christmas with my father, knowing he was seeing someone was a massive relief as we had our individual support bubbles we knew it would not be our traditional Christmas but we made the most of it.
Same same but different
I decided to create a small magazine to have a physical document of the changes I experienced. If you are interested in purchasing a copy please click here