The Second Lockdown


A Second Lockdown was announced November 2020, with much the same restrictions as the first. Just in time for Christmas! Nevertheless, Winsham Street Fair Committee managed to place  the annual Christmas tree, but the villagers were deprived of the carols, hot punch and mince pies that had always previously accompanied the switching on of illuminations. The Chard Concert Brass were absent too. Even the Christmas Tree was socially distanced from the Village Cross! Regardless of this the tree was admired by Winsham residents as they exercised their dogs and cheered-up passers by.

The effect on the parish of the second lockdown was much the same as the first, although some of the older villagers undoubtedly stretched their interpretation of bubbles and  similar restrictions. There was no evidence of Covid in the village, although one resident of the village did die , following infection caught at a nursing home. This stretching of the rules was very limited, carefully conducted, and resulted in no negative effects.

The prospect of a mass immunisation programme was imminent, and started with a  nationally highly publicised, first recipient on December 8th, 2020. The mass immunisation programme started immediately, with 130,000 getting their first dose of the Pfizer /BioNTech vaccine in the first week. In January many of the older and sheltered members of the community received their first jab, travelling to Ilminster, Crewkerne, and other nearby towns to receive it. No explanation was given as to why it could not be obtained in Chard-probably lack of suitable buildings and parking spaces.

The main topic of conversation among socially distanced older folk changed from being the weather to ‘Have you had your first jab yet? What was it like? Did you have any after effects?’

Could a conclusion to the pandemic be in sight? The answer was ‘yes’, but there was still a long way to go. People also remarked about the general high efficiency at which this was all done, from the booking of appointments process through to the cheerful treatment by the nurses and other staff involved in administering the doses. The writer's experience was that the atmosphere in these centres was more like that a holiday camp than a medical establishment. All very jolly!

People of course knew that vaccinations took time to be effective, and some scientists were still arguing among themselves about how effective the process would be, but at least there was hope.

Some inconvenience was experienced by residents for the arrangements for the ‘Lockdown Christmas.’

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, back in November had announced, somewhat prematurely some thought, that up to three households would be able to meet up over a five day Christmas holiday.

However, due to the increasing size of the ‘R’ number, stricter regulations were introduced on15th December, when the Prime Minister stated that Christmas rules would be relaxed but urged  to keep celebrations ‘short and sweet’.  On December 21st  rules were  tightened for London and the Southeast to a new Tier 4 ‘Stay at Home’ level. This caused a good deal of upset among families in Winsham who were hoping to see loved ones  over Christmas, perhaps not having seen them for the best part of a year. The journey into 2021 was subdued and anxious.

Fortunately, Santa was not subject to travel restrictions, or required to take a lateral flow test before descending a chimney, so many of the younger children remained blissfully unaware  of the problems around them!

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