Over the past year and a half, Covid has overwhelmed our lives, our thoughts, and our conversations.
Most of us have got used to wearing masks, observing restrictions and distancing. But now in the UK pretty much all restrictions have lifted. Many people feel it’s too much too soon. Others are rejoicing. Are we ready for lockdown to lift?
For many industries, the fall in job vacancies during 2020 was bigger than the 2008 economic downturn, and optimism about when life will return to normal declined with the early-2021 lockdown.*
Title’s Bella and Geneveive took to the streets of Sussex to ask people what they thought about lockdown lifting, new lessons learned, and summer plans…
Being out and about
Returning to a (somewhat) normal life after being locked down for such a long time has caused some mixed feelings. On the sea front we met Lydia, who explained how different the easing of restrictions was to her initial expectations.
“When we were in lockdown I thought that when a vaccine comes out everything would go back to normal straight away. I thought there would be street parties on the day that we all found out, so it was weird not to have that.”
Being out and about after full lockdown can be overwhelming. As Francesco put it, “It feels quite strange, especially when they have allowed us to dine in at restaurants.”
However, for some people, like Karen, not much has changed. “I’ve been working through lockdown anyway so its normal for me,” she said, and she won’t be going on holiday. “I’ll be working, working, working!”
What are people planning to do for summer holidays?
The people we asked were mostly making summer plans that revolved around staycations and breaks in the UK this year. Darcy confessed to not partaking in “any crazy travelling, but just England. Hopefully to Cornwall. Try to save some money and chill out, and film a little Brighton skate video this summer.”
And Lydia has similar ideas. She’s heading for “hot girl summer! Just up and down between Brighton, like staycations.”
A few have more ambitious plans though. “I’m meant to be going on holiday in July,” said a girl on the beach who didn’t want to give her name. “I’m meant to be going to Greece, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Especially because I’ve not got my jabs yet.”
What did we learn during the whole pandemic process?
Lockdown taught us all sorts of things, from new skills to life lessons. Darcy said what he personally took away from the experience was “to spend more time with my family and take them less for granted, because it definitely put it into perspective how important family is. And space as well. Lockdown with just my girlfriend was very intense and taught us a lot about how to live within the relationship and respect each other.”
Tanith felt a little less positive. “I’ve learned how stupid people are. We all think people are a bit silly, but this has shown how against authority people can be, at the time it’s needed more. And people need to follow stuff more. You need to learn how to deal with people doing what they shouldn’t be doing.”
This is something that Francesco seconds, stating that he also learned that “sometimes you cannot rely on people. I’ve seen a lot of people not wearing masks, even when there were lots of cases. I think this reflects the common sense of society.”
Or as Karen put more bluntly, she’s learned to “stay away from people!”
How has it all been handled?
Lydia was unimpressed at the way that Sussex – particularly Brighton – handled the lockdown. “The streets were filled with litter, it was like a zombie apocalypse or something. It was sad because the bin men probably weren’t being looked after by the council. It’s Green here so you’d think they’d maybe step it up a bit.”
A simple solution was proposed from Tanith who said, “I wish we had Jacinda Ardern to run the world. You know, we (the UK) didn’t handle it very well; if it had been handled differently then we’d be in a better situation.”
Love/hate relationship with lockdown
Lockdown seems to have left us with some mixed feelings, as Francesco explained, “I enjoyed parts, but only for the first few months because I had time to explore some activities and do more hobbies. But after a while it was just stressful.”
Most people agreed that lockdown gave them unique opportunity to work on their interests. Darcy says, “I liked it on the account of learning new stuff, skate tricks specifically, like in my garden and in my house and stuff. Work was annoying with losing my job, but in other ways it was cool. In creative ways it was cool.”
There were also differences in the way people felt between the winter and summer lockdowns. “I didn’t mind it in the summer because you can go out for walks. But in the winter, I literally hated it because of all the rain, it was horrible.”
Life without restrictions
A return to life without restrictions has now become a reality, but not everybody is happy about it. Tanith said ‘I’m really annoyed that they say people can stop wearing masks because that’s really stupid. I think they really want to show that we’re like New Zealand and everything is fine. But it’s really, really not and people will just act more stupid.”
Francesco held a similar opinion. “I think the re-opening should have been postponed. You can see from the data that the cases are increasing. So, it’s probably a bad idea.”
If you’re feeling anxious about lockdown lifting, the NHS has 11 tips for dealing with anxiety.
*(Source: Office for National Statistic)