‘I wish we hadn’t had to go through this again’: Responses to the latest Covid ban in England

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Exeter and Manchester street snapshots reflect questions about the effect on corporations and family life.

Sarah Blakesley, a mother and businesswoman, had a hard day. She said, “It’s very hectic and very stressful,” “I just want to get today over with, to be honest.”
The beginning of Lockdown 3.0 affected both business and family life. “I run a company for cleaning.

There are a lot of consumers closing their offices.

I will have to lay off the workers.

Blakesley, from Exeter in Devon, also has a 17-year-old son who won’t go to college in the near future. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the university, so that’s another worry.

I wish we never had to go through it again.

I worry about the mental wellbeing of people.’
People were going through tricky work and family problems around the area.

Sue Jones and her son and daughter, all of them of elementary school age, were in one of the city parks.

In order to visit them, she had to take a day off from her job at a food processing plant. I wasn’t able to find childcare in time for them, so I had to call to ask for the day off.

The thought of another lockdown makes me feel so worn down.
Exeter’s Covid costs are not nearly as bad as in other areas of the world – in the seven days to Dec. 31, there were just under 200 new cases per 100,000 individuals.

But most people seemed resigned to the fact that there is a need for a UK-wide initiative. “We’ve got a nationwide lockdown to have.

It’s out of control,’ said Alan Taylor, who operates a city-centre hardware store. Clearly, the levels didn’t work – people didn’t know what was happening.

At least now everyone knows what’s happening.
He was unhappy with the closure, said Ben Mangan, owner of the Eat at the Green restaurant near the cathedral. But we could see it coming, and with it, I’m OK. The situation is so bad that there was no alternative for the government.

I guess we’ve all got to work on this together.

For there to be one rule for all, it’s fair.
To warn customers that she was closing, Steph Flisher taped a handwritten sign to the window of her dog grooming shop. “Safety has to be a priority. We all need to come together and get this under control. NHS needs us to do this.”
Faye Jennings-Mosquera can keep her grocery and cleaning supplies store open for zero-waste. “I think the closure needs to happen,”I think the closure needs to happen. Her husband is at home, she said, caring for their two young children. “If we have two months, let’s just do it, let’s all wear masks and be respectful to each other.”
Teams of volunteers were working hard around the corner at the food bank to prepare food packets, anticipating a rise in the number of people who could not afford the food they wanted.

Councilman Philip Bialyk, Exeter City Council chief, said he “reluctantly” acknowledged the need for the lockdown. He said supplies to vulnerable individuals will be stepped up again and more financial resources will flow to community organisations that benefit vulnerable individuals.

“There is nothing more important than defeating the virus,” he said. “That has to be our main goal. We need to protect our loved ones and ourselves. No one is safe.”
Some doubters were there.

Stan Henderson, a truck driver, said he thinks the tier system should have been kept. “We were doing fine in the West Country,” he said.

Yet Exeter had its issues. Just before Christmas, Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust was placed on OPEL 4 status – the highest alert level – because of the high number of inpatients with covid and a large number of staff absences. There are about 30 patients at its Nightingale Hospital on the outskirts of the city.

David Strain, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School and co-chair of the British Medical Association’s Committee on Medical Academic Staff, advocated tighter restrictions and warned that there would be no quick return to normalcy.

“It is important to emphasize that this vaccination program will not allow a return to normal life in February because the majority of adults on whom the economy depends are not in the four priority groups,” he said.

In four to six weeks, when the lockdown is reviewed, there is no guarantee there will be a statewide lifting of restrictions.”
Nearly 250 miles north

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