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How life changed

Life changed within a few weeks as important restrictions were placed on everyday life. Things that seemed normal at the start of the year were suddenly not allowed in order to slow the spread of the virus by social distancing. People were urged to stay at home.

Churches

Although some churches were already beginning to take action (for instance, churches in London had closed from Sunday 22nd March), on Monday 23rd March places of worship were ordered to be closed across the country with immediate effect by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. A statement was issued by Church House (the headquarters of the Church of England in London) a few minutes afterwards. It said that the announcement “means all Church of England churches will close with immediate effect in line with the Government’s instructions. There will also be no weddings or baptisms. “Funerals at the graveside or in crematoriums can still take place, but only in line with the Prime Minister’s Statement.”

 

Many churches streamed services live over the internet. Using Facebook, Rev. Turnbull, the rector of St. Mary's in Wistaston, led many services which were very popular and well received by its congregation and the community. Their usual weekly notice sheet was replaced by a blog. It needed to find ways to work with its members and so it set up a blog to share resources for prayer and reflection.

Cultural Events and Festivals

In order to combat the pandemic, traditional annual events were cancelled. This included: the 2020 Olympics, Euro 2020, Glastonbury Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Nantwich Jazz Festival.

Films and Cinema

Cinemas were not allowed to open.

Hollywood studios decided to push back the dates for the release of their movies.

Films which were postponed included:

  • James Bond: No Time To Die
  • Disney's Mulan
  • Marvel's The Black Widow
  • Fast & Furious 9
  • Peter Rabbit 2

Films which had to stop production included:

  • Disney's The Little Mermaid
  • The Batman
  • Jurassic World: Dominion

Some films were due to be released but they fast tracked the movie to digital so it could be watched at home. These included:

  • Trolls: World Tour

Football

The Premier League had been dominated by Liverpool FC, who were 25 points ahead of second-placed Manchester City. The team needed just six more points to win the league when the season was suspended on 13th March 2020. Initially the league was paused until April but then it was delayed further.

The Euro 2020 competition was postponed until the summer of 2021.

All Champions League and Europa League were suspended until further notice.

All non-league and Women's football seasons were ended and all results were expunged meaning that all results were cancelled as if the league had not taken place.

Many people pay for TV subscriptions to sports channels and Sky and BT Sport allowed customers to pause their subscription whilst no sport was taking place.

As football had been cancelled, Match of the Day was still on TV each Saturday but now with the presenter, Gary Lineker, and the pundits, including Alan Shearer, Danny Murphy and Ian Wright discussing classic games and listing their favourite players and managers. Each person was filmed using a camera in their own home rather than in a studio.

Hospitals

To ensure patient, staff and visitor safety, visiting was suspended in hospitals during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Special arrangements will be made to accommodate some essential visitors. These were very restrictive but this was really important so that safety was maintained and to limit the chance of an outbreak. Virtual visiting was encouraged, using social media and phone calls to stay in touch.

Attendance at Accident & Emergency departments fell dramatically due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This could have been for a few reasons - people being afraid to visit hospitals for fear of infection, people not wanting to burden the NHS so they could prioritise people with the virus and also people were staying at home where there was a lower risk of an accident and people were relaxing at home more. This led doctors and nurses to worry that people who needed help were not being seen.

Music

In 2020 most music was streamed or listened to on the radio. Purchasing a song online was not as popular as it had been a few years before. At the start of the outbreak, streaming figures fell. This could be because more people were listening to the radio for news of the outbreak. After a few weeks numbers of songs being streamed started to increase dramatically.

 

Pop stars found ways to entertain their fans online. For example, Gary Barlow sang a duet on Facebook with a fellow singer every day. The band Radiohead performed a weekly live concert. Musical writer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber shared a recording of one of his musicals each week, including Joseph & His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Phantom Of The Opera. DJs gave live mixes on YouTube. 'Together At Home' was a virtual concert organised by people including Lady Gaga featuring stars from all over the world. 

 

Most planned album releases were postponed and so there were not as many new songs being released.

 

Charity songs made a big comeback. 99-year-old Captain Tom Moore, who raised nearly £30 million by walking around his garden, recorded You'll Never Walk Alone with singer Michael Ball. The song was purchased (but not streamed) many times and went to Number 1 in the chart. (Moore turned 100 during the week). Pop stars collaborated virtually on a cover of Foo Fighters' Times Like These which was also purchased a lot.

 

The Number One singles during lockdown were:

1st May to 7th May: Times Like These by Live Lounge Allstars

24th April to 30th April: You'll Never Walk Alone by Michael Ball and Captain Tom Moore

17th April to 23rd April: Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

10th April to 16th April: Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

3rd April to 9th April: Blinding Lights by The Weeknd

27th March to 2nd April: Roses (Imanbek Remix) by Saint Jhn

20th March to 26th March: Roses (Imanbek Remix) by Saint Jhn

(Note that these are not spelling mistakes - they actually did spell their names like that.)

Pubs

Pubs were ordered to close from Friday 20th March in order to slow the spread of the virus. People had stopped going to pubs before then and so pubs were struggling to afford to stay open. The order to close was finally given at the end of the week (although the Prime Minister hoped that people would not go to the pub for that end of the week pint that night).

 

Takeaway services were allowed, however, so many landlords made arrangements to offer takeaway services - some offered to deliver food, but others included the delivery of beer and wine!

Newspapers and Magazines

Cheshire Families produce a magazine for all school families each term. During the lockdown they produced a Lockdown Issue.

Restaurants and Cafes

Shops and Supermarkets

For a couple of weeks before the lockdown, supermarkets became really busy as people were panic buying. This means that they would buy lots of extra items that they could store at home in case things were in short supply in the future. The items that people often stockpiled were: paracetamol, pasta, flour, hand sanitiser, soap, toilet roll and tinned foods.

Things took weeks to calm down and many supermarket shelves had gaps throughout the lockdown.

Most shops were forced to close as they sold non-essential items, and some shops, like B & Q (which re-opened after five weeks), closed even though they didn't need to.

Supermarkets were forced to put many restrictions in place to ensure the safety of their staff members, of customers and to prevent further panic buying.

Supermarkets required thousands of extra members of staff in order to meet the demand and to cover absences. Most of these jobs were temporary.

Supermarkets offered NHS worker discounts, NHS-only hours and the opportunity to queue jump.

Measures to limit panic buying were later reduced, but at first they included:

  • Limiting the number of items that could be purchased at once (for example, toilet rolls and other items were limited to two or three per customer)
  • Toilet rolls, for example, were sold in larger pack sizes
  • Reduced opening hours

Safety measures introduced to keep people safe were:

  • Limiting the number of customers allowed in a store at any one time (this created queuing outside the stores)
  • Wherever possible, although it was not compulsory, shoppers were urged to shop on their own to make social distancing easier. This was impossible for some families.
  • Queuing areas were set up outside shops, with markers to show a 2 metre distance between customers
  • Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 was asked to not enter the shop
  • Trolleys were cleaned and sanitised before use
  • Before the pandemic, customers could roam freely around the shops. To make social distancing easier, many shops added arrows to the floor to encourage customers to move in one direction.
  • Perspex screens were added at checkouts
  • Many shop counters inside supermarkets were closed
  • Customers were encouraged to not touch items unless they were buying them
  • Some shops would not accept cash - only card or contactless payment.
  • The contactless payment was increased from £30 to £45 to encourage more people to use this form of payment
  • Many shop workers chose to wear PPE (personal protective equipment)

 

Over a few weeks, shopping habits evolved and research said that people were shopping less often (once a week or less often) and spending more. Tesco said that prior to the outbreak, people were tending to shop more frequently and buy smaller amounts at once. Online shopping increased drastically and supermarkets increased the number of delivery slots available dramatically.

 

In expectation of shops being allowed to reopen, guidance was released which stated how shops would be managed.

 

In May 2020 people were urged to eat more meat, eggs and chips. This was due to stock which would usually be used by restaurants needing to be sold in places like supermarkets.

Spas, Beauty Parlours and Hair Salons

Spas were ordered to close on Friday 20th March in order to delay the spread of COVID-19. Following the announcement of a lockdown on Monday 23rd March, beauty parlours and hair salons were therefore added to the list of businesses that weren't allowed to open.

 

The announcement caused a boom in online purchases of hair cutting and styling equipment as people dared to cut their family's hair!

Sport

Tourism

As non-essential travel was not allowed, tourism declined to almost nothing. Usually busy places like Llandudno were extremely quiet (in fact, Llandudno was one of the ten worst affected towns in the country due to the pandemic). Holiday parks were not allowed to open. It is estimated that the tourism sector in Cornwall alone lost over £300 million during the Easter break.

Theme Parks were not allowed to open and were sat empty.

 

Travelling

Non-essential travel was not allowed. The Police would set up spot check areas on the roads to ask people why they were driving. Travelling in connection with work was allowed, as was travelling to the shops. People could travel to care for medical supplies or in an emergency.

 

Key workers were given a letter from their employer to show to a police officer if they were stopped to prove that they were travelling in relation to their job.

TV

TV had to evolve quite quickly during the lockdown. Due to social distancing, shows couldn't take place that had audiences. Some shows continued, and showed interviews using video conferencing. This happened on important programmes like the News but also on chat shows, such as The Graham Norton Show and Match of the Day. Interviews were filmed using mobile phones and apps like FaceTime, Messenger, WhatsApp and Zoom.

Some popular talent shows, such as The Voice and Britain's Got Talent stayed on TV to show pre-recorded episodes, but shows that were meant to be live were delayed.

TV soap operas, such as Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale are usually filmed months in advance and because filming was forced to stop they did not want to run out of episodes. So during the lockdown, the number of episodes each week was cut. For example, Mr Bancroft's favourite show, Neighbours, went from five episodes a week to two, initially.

TV schedules needed to be filled and so with the lack of new programming, schedules were filmed with repeats of older shows, for example, BBC One showed Gavin & Stacey in its prime time Saturday night schedule - this was a very popular programme, but it had been first showed in 2007; films and re-edited programmes.

 

As people were staying at home more people were watching TV and there were some big successes! Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway had the most viewed episode in its eighteen-year history with 9.5 million. The Queen's message on 5th April was shown on BBC One, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky One, BBC News and Sky News at 8pm in the evening and was watched by nearly 24 million people. Boris Johnson's lockdown announcement on Monday 23rd March was watched by 14.61 million.

Banks and Finance

Martin Lewis promoted change

finance measures

Shopping at Supermarkets

What was it like

Stockpiling

Deliveries

Weather

For the first four weeks of lockdown, the weather was very nice. It was sunny and warm. This meant that families could spend a lot of time in the garden and it was nice to take that daily exercise.

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