/ Health

How do you feel about the reopening across the UK?

With gyms, pubs, and restaurants able to reopen in England, are you returning to your local shops? Or are you sticking with shopping from home?

17/05/2021: Further restrictions lifted

Further lockdown rules have lifted in England, Scotland and Wales today with indoor socialising, larger outdoor gatherings and hugging permitted in England and Scotland.

Pubs and restaurants are also now able to open indoors – are you keen to pay them a visit?

How are you feeling about this new stage of restrictions easing? Do you have concerns over further COVID-19 variants potentially preventing or reversing lockdown restrictions?

Let us know in the comments.

14/04/2021: How do you feel about reopening?

The UK moved one step closer to lifting lockdown restrictions this week:

🗓 Pubs and restaurants have now opened for outdoor table service in England, with Wales and Scotland following on 26 April (subject to data).

🗓 Hairdressers and barbers are open for appointments in England, Scotland, and Wales. Walk-ins are also now permitted in England. They remain closed in Northern Ireland.

🗓 Many non-essential shops, and some public buildings such as libraries and community centres are now able to reopen in England. Restrictions in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will vary, but some shops have been able to reopen or resume click-and-collect services.

While eased somewhat, restrictions and timeframes will vary depending on where you are in the UK.   

See what restrictions are in place in your area

Flocking back or staying home?

Reopening has seemed pretty normal in my area, all things considered. It was nice to walk by the local pub and see the caution tape and barricades blocking off the car parks and patios were replaced with people enjoying themselves. Further down my high street, I saw people sitting outside of Costa, and a man visibly excited to finally be getting his hair seen to in a barber.  

There were still masks, face coverings, distancing – it seemed pretty sensible from where I was standing at least.  

On the other hand, it’s easy see why people would be concerned about social distancing and potential further spread as people cram into smaller outdoor dining areas, or queue for shops:

How do you feel about reopening?

Have you been out again following the easing of lockdown restrictions in England and Wales? 

Which non-essential shop have you missed the most during the winter lockdown?
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What’s it like to shop in-store again?  Are you seeing long queues or other restrictions on entry?  

Are people still socially distancing and wearing masks, or has the easing of restrictions caused others to behave differently?  

What concerns do you have about the easing of restrictions? Do you feel that you’ll retain any of your lockdown shopping habits as restrictions ease? 


We have to return to some sort of normality at some point. I have missed socialising with friends and family by far the most.

I have not found the pub, restaurant, gym, essential to my life and managed quite well without them. And shopping has been no problem once food was sorted out; ordering other stuff online has met my necessary demands and I have spent less on impulse buys than when wandering around physical shops.

The key is to keep us all aware of the lurking problem the virus still poses, particularly in its variants. We must be kept up to date with the way the virus might be spreading and be prepared for local or national restrictions to be re-imposed if a spread looks likely.

A basic worry is allowing all and sundry to travel overseas with inadequate restrictions, driven by minimising cost rather than protecting the UK’s more responsible residents, contacting people from less well controlled countries than ours, and coming back to reinfect us. We, and Which?, should carefully manage expectations.

I miss the simple pleasure of chatting in a friend’s kitchen with a mug of tea the most.

Still only essential shops here still. I can’t wait for Ikea to reopen. We went to get a very long list of things for the house on Christmas Eve when it was clarified that the shops wouldn’t be opening after Christmas just to discover Ikea doesn’t open on Christmas Eve! The novelty of no wardrobes has definitely worn off now.

I’m still only doing the essential shops but had my hair cut on Tuesday. The main reason for going was they were only doing appointments so I didn’t have to worry about queues.

I have not been in a supermarket or a pub since before the first lockdown but have been very impressed by the supermarket click & collect services. The pub will come first, but not until I have had my second dose of vaccine. I did have my hair cut once, and each time my fringe starts to fall in my eyes I do a quick trim all round. I will book in for professional treatment when the queues subside.

I am looking forward to meeting up with friends outdoors. I desperately need some garden furniture that is comfortable but so far there is little that is not sold out. That’s about all that I am prepared to go into a shop for at present.

This Friday I should receive my second dose of vaccine, which should make me more confident about mixing with others. The last time I wore a mask was nine weeks ago, when I had the first dose.

I have to thank our PM for popularising the unkempt look. If it’s OK for him…

Once upon a time we all wore suits and ties, and would not be seen out without a hat. At least most of us do not go round in vests and baseball caps. Yet……

He wears a suit and tie and I read that he has now been shorn.

I have been out and about this week and have done a few click and collects, in the past weeks, in addition to the usual supermarket shop. I have kept my distance from others and managed to avoid the virus. My second Jab last week went as well as the first. I am told that we older folk have a better memory for antibodies than younger people and our bodies don’t react as strongly to vaccines. Yet it seems that our actual protection from the virus could be better!

I have just looked at the map of coronavirus cases on the BBC website, as I do daily, and at long last I do not see any orange areas in the entire UK. Hopefully most people will behave sensibly and we can look forward to a normal life before long.

Well, I hope most people will still take precautions while the virus and its mutations are still out there. Hopefully the most vulnerable people will now be protected to some degree. What we don’t want to see is the irresponsible ones deciding it’s all over.

I agree, Malcolm, but as you said earlier we have to return to normality. Different people have different views. I looked at the BBC map showing the number of cases of coronavirus, as I do daily, and all the orange areas have finally gone, which is very encouraging.

Normality may be different from before. Particularly in travel abroad.

I am not going into shops or pubs until after I have had my second vaccination. I had my first jab on 2 February and was given my second appointment, for 29 April, at the same time as I booked the first one. I am not sure why there is such a long gap between the first and second doses.

I desperately need a haircut but can wait till the initial surge dies down before I go to the barbers. It’s only five minutes walk away so if it’s too busy I can come back home without wasting too much time.

I walked past my local pub in the afternoon the other day on its first reopening and was surprised at the numbers sitting outside. I don’t think I shall be joining them in a hurry.

We have carried out a rough-and-ready stock-take and found that there is hardly anything other than fresh food that we shall be needing for the next few months which means much less shopping overall.

We have missed social contact with some of our friends, but our lives didn’t revolve around that so much as in other families.

It’s been a pleasure going to the doctor’s and the hospital during the lockdown – no extraneous visitors and others hanging around. I have been impressed by the orderly way in which necessary appointments have been managed with minimal waiting and quick turn-rounds.

I received my second jab yesterday, and the good news is for the jab sensitive, I can apparently expect fewer side affects with the second one.

The village was much busier than of late and most people were still adhering to the spacial regulations, but there’s nearly always exceptions to the rule. The chemist was still showing its ‘2 only’ notice on the door, so I waited a while until someone came out before entering. I was soon joined by a robust, red faced irate elderly gentleman, supporting an Oxford accent who seemed rather reluctant to wait in a queue. I offered to let him go before me when someone came out, but in he went regardless.

It was nice to be out in the fresh air and feel the sun on my face wind blowing through my hair. There was quite a long queue of people waiting to be vaccinated, but everyone kept a safe distant and all wore masks.

I predict, if the weather holds out this weekend there may be a mass exodus to the coast, with long traffic queues and irate drivers eagerly searching for that one available small place in which to fit their precious 4 wheeled motorised carriage that will enable them to join the rest of the throng on the beach, after which they will return again to the long traffic queues, leaving behind their spoils for the locals to clear away on Monday.

We can expect this to continue until it’s safe for the Brits to return once again to sunnier beaches, but that luxury, sadly, still remains only a distant dream until other countries decide to up their act and organise an effective vaccination programme for their own local inhabitants.

Veryhappybunny says:
15 April 2021

I will not be heading back into shops or restaurants until COVID has gone away or if it becomes clear that 2 vaccinations gives you enough protection.

I have not had my hair cut for over a year, but my no-fringe style means this doesn’t matter. I have used a Combpal to scissor cut my partner’s hair, with surprisingly good results. So good he doesn’t plan to go back to the hairdressers – highly recommended.

Meeting up with friends outside is good, but until there is less COVID I don’t want the risk of meeting indoors. I would love to attend concerts but that seems a long way off.

I wish we had a government who would actually listen to the science and control our borders properly, after making so much emphasis on ‘taking back control’ in their Brexit campaign. I am concerned that all the progress achieved with the vaccine program will be lost if they allow new variants to arrive and spread.

I did go to the local shopping centre was nice to be back out but will not be making it regular thing just yet. It was very busy and places like primark were absolute scenes. Will just be sticking to normal routines and the occasional shop for now.

I’ll be keeping well clear of anywhere where there’s rowdy outdoor so-called “hospitality” going on, it makes far too much excruciating noise which is just what I don’t need near me. But I will need my hair cutting as it hasn’t been cut for 9 months and it’s long for my liking. But finding a barber’s shop that’s quiet enough is well nigh impossible as they nearly always have excruciating and intolerable radio or TV on, or some other appalling excuse for music.

Having not been in a shop since early March 2020 I ventured into a local garden centre and bought a garden table and chairs today. My elderly garden furniture had passed on. I can now invite the neighbours round for a coffee. Then I met up with a friend in the garden of one of our two village pubs. There were three pubs but the owners of one of them called time a year ago. It was very encouraging to see that the outdoor seating had been changed to keep tables separate and that customers were behaving sensibly.

Perhaps I should risk a haircut.

I risked a haircut the other day. I thought I should leave a few days after the lifting of lockdown to allow the inevitable surge to die down – there had been lengthy queues inn the previous week. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the only customer. I went straight into the chair and was despatched within about fifteen minutes with twelve months’ worth of silver locks lying on the floor. Quite a good trim as well.

I have now been denied two dental check-ups and am hoping it won’t be too long before the surgery reopens. There don’t seem to be any dental problems but a regular check-up is useful because evolution has not enabled us to look inside our mouths – although a micro camera might be a worthwhile development.

Barbers in South London are now being trained to check your blood pressure when you go for a haircut Wavechange.

Is that because going into South London has the effect of raising people’s blood pressure?

I think I will check my own bp, thanks. It’s a long time since my GP practice did any tests.

The nice young lady who does my cleaning occasionally is also a hairdresser. I have a haircut booked for next Friday, outside. Fortunately I have my own blood pressure monitor and a supply of pills in case it should rise.

You are meant to take the pills to prevent your BP from rising Malcolm, not wait until it does. 🙂

Seriously, you could suggest this to your barber on your next visit. Men notoriously pay more attention to their cars health than that of their own.

BP personal monitors can malfunction in time and give an incorrect reading, as mine did. It was after a routine check with my GP, an ambulance was immediately called and I ended up in hospital for two nights that prevented a major stroke.

My neighbour came to the door this evening to announce that she and her husband had returned after being away for months. After a short chat she returned home because it was raining.

It then occurred to me that we are allowed to have visitors… It’s going to take some time to get used to relaxation of lockdown and I’m not in any rush. I will apologise to my neighbour.

Martin says:
17 May 2021

We need to start to get back on track and we need to learn how to live and carry on life as normally as we can this is not going to go away for a while. We cannot keep putting the country into lockdown, if we do we are crippling the economy and it’s not doing our mental health any good .

I agree. There is a kind of PTSD going around at the moment.

After months of heightened anxiety levels experienced by many, and particularly the elderly who have been hold-up in their homes without any social contact for such a long time, instead of feeling elated at being free to venture out to mingle and mix again, the opposite is occurring, whereby people are experiencing a mild form of depression.

Although unpleasant and not entirely welcome, this is essentially the minds way of a recovering from a traumatic event, and it should be treated with a degree of sympathy and support for anyone suffering in this way until it goes away. If it persists, more professional help may be required with a visit to your GP who may prescribe antidepressants.

It helps if you can accept this unpleasant phenomenon as a kind of healing process, which essentially, is what it is.