A year of lockdown from shuttered pubs to no fans at footie

We look back on what is now a whole rollercoaster year of lockdowns that has seen sport, trips to the boozer and even getting a haircut at the barbers all banned.

As coronavirus swept through Britain at an uncontrollable rate, Boris Johnson announced on March 23 2020 that England would enter the first of what would become three national lockdowns in the space of 12 months.

Only stores deemed essential could remain open as the public was ordered to only leave their homes for food shopping, daily exercise, medical reasons and travelling for work if absolutely necessary.

Three days earlier, owners of leisure and hospitality businesses were forced to lock up indefinitely as pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and gyms all closed.

Even the Premier League could not escape lockdown 1.0, leaving fans of runaway leaders Liverpool fearing calls for the season to be declared 'null and void' and their 20-year wait for the title extended.

Footie fans instead had to turn to social media for a glimpse of stars passing the time, while TikTok exploded from the platform of choice for teenagers to a mainstream source of entertainment.

Despite the government insisting supermarkets would remain open throughout lockdown, frenzied panic buyers stripped shelves of certain foods and toilet roll which bizarrely came close to becoming a black market currency worth its weight in gold.

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Returning from his own run-in with Covid-19 Boris Johnson addressed the nation on April 30 to announce the UK was “past the peak of this disease” before opening up parks for sunbathers on May 11.

Easing lockdown measures continued the next day with garden centres opening and unlimited exercise allowed for pursuits from tennis to golf and basketball.

The now prized after 'rule of six' allowing groups of six people to meet outside was introduced on May 28 with primary school kids back in classrooms on June 1, two weeks later non-essential shops could finally open again.

We were made to wait until July 4 to sip on a draught beer fresh from the tap as pubs and bars welcomed back punters for the first time in over three months.

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For blokes who opted out of the trending DIY home buzzcut, barnets were left to grow wild for another week or so as the government kept beauty salons, nail bars and tattoo shops closed until July 13.

Football fans had reason to cheer up at a time when Euro 2020 should have been on, as project restart brought back the Premier League – for TV viewing anyway.

Welcome to football with simulated crowd noise and repeated apologies from commentators for foul language echoing pitchside.

England may have already emerged from lockdown on July 24 but it was then that face coverings became mandatory in shops and on public transport, adding another item to the panicked keys, phone, wallet checklist.

After a summer of comparative freedom – which now feels like a distant memory – a new 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants was brought in from September 24, signalling another lockdown may be in the pipeline.

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Remember the three-tier system brought in on October 12? The system designed to impose measures relative to each region's infection rate was replaced within a month by a dreaded four-week national lockdown on November 5.

As planned the complete lockdown was over on December 2 and families had hopes raised by the later scrapped promise of "Christmas bubbles".

A strengthened three-tier system once again enforced in England became four-tiers on December 19 with the highest risk areas effectively back in lockdown.

Brief though it was, up to 2,000 fans were allowed back into football grounds in low-risk cities and they certainly made their voices heard.

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A rapid spread of the new Kent variant of the virus brought on England's third and current lockdown on January 4 which only now are we beginning to slowly climb out of.

Boris Johnson delivered his much-anticipated roadmap out of Draconian measures on February 22 which has so far seen kids return to school and allowed us to meet a pal from another household in an outdoor public place.

March 29 is now the next milestone out of lockdown with outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households permitted in time for Easter and the 'stay at home' order lifted.

Fast forward to April 12 and you could be nursing a pint with mates in your local beer garden – this time without the need for a 'substantial' pork pie or early curfew.

After 12 months of coronavirus restrictions, if the Prime Minister's roadmap remains unchanged, just three more to go before has them pencilled in for total removal on June 21.

Finally, we may have light at the end of the tunnel.

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