'Stuck in an awful dream on loop' - six people on third lockdown impact
- Credit: Various
From homeschooling and adapting businesses to not being able to see family and friends - lockdown has dramatically changes people's lives.
We asked for people's honest reflections on the challenges of the new national coronavirus restrictions and how they are coping.
The Covid-19 survivor
Severe asthma sufferer Linsey McFarlane, 34, from Ormesby Road in Badersfield, feared for her life after spending four days on oxygen at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in April 2020 after catching coronavirus. She has two sons aged five and seven.
Mrs McFarlane said: "Lockdown number three and shielding round two has hit hard. The first lockdown was a bit of a novelty, homeschooling was a novelty, the weather was lovely and you could spend hours in the garden to pass the time. This time round, it’s far from summer's glory days. The children are going insane, missing out on months of vital education.
"My children’s school is doing an incredible job but nothing compares to being with a teacher. The weather is horrendous and we’re all stuck in what appears to be a awful dream on loop. The only glimmer of hope is the potential vaccine, but how long do we have to continue before it’s our turn?
"Why aren’t nurseries shut? Why is practically everyone a key worker this time round? I am confused, the virus is transmitting between people quicker than ever so why isn’t the army been drafted in? The vaccine's there, it’s ready - let’s get it out.
"Juggling homeschooling two very different children, while keeping the house going, is definitely challenging. However, I do have it easier than some as I am shielded and therefore unable to work.
"My heart goes out to the working mums pulling 30-plus hours a week at work, keeping on top of the house and still trying to home school the children. So to those mums I take my hat off.
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"This time round it feels impossible to fully understand and follow the rules. You can go out for exercise, you can travel for exercise but stay local? What exactly is local? The rules are about as clear as mud. Confused and fed up sums up the daily lives of this household."
Grandmother Sue Lawrence, 74, from Newark Close in Thorpe St Andrew, is shielding once more after her diagnosis of Huntingdon's disease five years ago.
"I am finding this lockdown a lot harder. I think the dark cold nights and mornings don’t help," she said.
"I am getting up in the morning later and sometimes feel very fed up with myself. Not seeing family and friends is so hard.
"The first lockdown wasn’t so bad because at least we had the garden to go out in as the weather was good. But then we couldn’t see friends which was pretty bad as they are an important part of my life. We had a very good friend who passed away and we couldn’t go to his funeral, which was terrible.
"I think that is the saddest part for me is not meeting up with our friends, especially poorly ones in a care home who I just can’t visit. It’s so hard and emotional.
"It’s a very scary time and this virus can take anyone. Just keep at home as much as you can. Hopefully we will get the vaccine soon. And people’s lives will be saved."
The bus driver
Father-of-three Leon Lambert, 28, from Acle, has been a bus driver for First Eastern Counties for five years. He is continuing to work throughout the lockdown.
"Working as a bus driver during a global pandemic was always going to be a difficult one, especially with having a newborn baby and the worry of bringing coronavirus home.
"However, the management team here at First Norwich buses have gone above and beyond to ensure we are all kept as safe as possible.
"Since the first lockdown measures have been put in place such as one-way systems and extending the canteen to ensure we can socially distance on our breaks. We have also been provided with PPE including face masks, hand sanitiser, gloves and antibacterial wipes.
"We are protecting our customers on our buses by having reduced passenger numbers, socially distance seating and keeping windows open for added ventilation.
"First buses play a big part in community life in and around Norwich. A good percentage of our customers rely on our services to get to work so without us continuing to run during lockdown and do our job, many other key workers wouldn’t have been able to do theirs."
He said customers should be reassured that they were doing all they could to protect passengers and their families.
"If we all continue to follow the rules, we will come out of the other side sooner rather than later."
The deli owner
Mark Kacary, 60, has run the Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton since January 2014 with his wife Rosie.
"With a background in sales and marketing for a variety of IT companies, I never considered opening a bricks and mortar retail business without a fully functioning website," he said. "The website means that our customer base is far greater than many would imagine.
"Lockdown three is vastly different to the previous two. During the first lockdown the roads were empty and there was a significant requirement for a local delivery service. There was no such requirement during the second lockdown and only the smallest increase of demand since the start of the latest lockdown.
"The most significant impact to the business has been the growth in online sales. A downside has been that the café we opened at the end of 2019 only traded properly for about eight weeks. Finding the money to pay rent for a non-revenue generating premises means that the rest of the business must work twice as hard to try and cover these shortfalls.
"We are using lockdown three to redevelop our website. There are advantages and disadvantages to living above the shop, but we do miss not having a proper day off. Even when we appear to be closed, we’re inside picking and packing online orders. However, now is not the time to moan, we do realise that in many ways we’re more fortunate that many other small businesses."
The fairground operator
Colleen Roper, 43, from Hunstanton, runs Rainbow Amusement Park, based near the town's Sea Life centre. She founded the campaign group Future4Fairgounds to raise awareness of the impact of the pandemic on the fairground community. She is part of a travelling showmen family going back several generations and is married with three children.
"Our season usually starts February half-term, the same time as King's Lynn Mart fair which is the traditional start of the travelling showmen’s calendar. However, due to the timing of this third lockdown and with no clear information about when it will end it seems that the start to our 2021 season will be inevitably delayed.
"The constant worry of keeping our family safe during the pandemic, having to home school and the uncertainty of what is to come - not to mention the financial implications of a delay to our season - puts a huge mental strain on all of us.
"The winter work will continue to make sure we will be ready to open in line with restrictions and any Covid-secure measures. Our business relies on the tourist and leisure industry which like many other businesses has been decimated by the impact of coronavirus.
"Public confidence in visiting tourist attractions has been varied but as an outside venue we do have that as an advantage and have been overwhelmed by the support of our customers and the positive comments we received during the summer season of 2020."
The D-day veteran
Former Royal Engineer and boat hire business owner, Jack Jenner, 101, from Thorpe St Andrew, continues to look after himself at home. The great-grandfather, who has two surviving sons, has received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
"The current period of lockdown is very hard given the efforts of the past 10 months seems to have achieved very little for us all. While at my age I cannot get out much, I had been so lucky to have had a regular stream of weekly visitors through an extended family, friends and neighbours. This gave me lots of companionship and plenty of variety through face-to-face contact and interaction.
"The current period of lockdown has been much harder to take than the previous ones. I see the desperate need for it but given the wintry weather I am now totally confined to my house.
"Luckily, I have a support bubble with one of my sons and his wife but I miss all the rest of my extended family and friends. All my visitors used to fill up my week with some variety and interest, now I largely have to keep myself entertained and whilst I get lots of telephone contact it is just not the same and far less fulfilling.'"