This is what it’s like to be living in a local lockdown right now

‘We’re back to being stuck inside’

Cast your mind back to March, when lockdown was first announced. We all made weird TikTok recipes, played too much Sims, and spent our days trying to find lockdown boyfriends on Tinder. Then restrictions began to lift, we all went to the pub and wept tears of joy over our first pints. But now, people across the country are back living under lockdown.

They lived through it with the rest of us from March, had a few glorious weeks of semi-freedom, and now are back in the confines of their bedrooms again. Last month Leicester was the first UK city to go on local lockdown, and other areas have since followed, including Greater Manchester, Luton and Aberdeen, although different areas and different parts of the UK may have slightly different rules.

The Tab spoke to students who are living in some of these areas, about what it’s like to be in a local lockdown:

Pubs are off-limits again

Eilidh S is in local lockdown in Aberdeen. No pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants of cafes are open. Eilidh says shops are still open, “so you can go visit the shops with friends but you can’t see them inside your home or the pub”.

It’s different in different cities, though – Mollie is in Manchester and has been allowed to go out with her housemates, as they all live together.

Loads of people left before lockdown was re-announced

The local lockdown in Aberdeen happened after a busy weekend in town, with an outbreak linked to bars and pubs. Eilidh S says: “It was so hectic, people were going nuts, so the whole city wasn’t surprised” when the new lockdown was announced. She has friends who had come back to their uni houses in Aberdeen, but quickly got flights or drove home, before the city’s lockdown was announced. They’re now back home in other cities, able to see people and go out.

Eilidh on the night Aberdeen’s lockdown was announced

Everywhere’s super quiet

Eilidh S lives on a really busy street, and says on the night Aberdeen’s local lockdown was announced she and her flatmates were “amazed at how quiet it was”. You’re allowed to go to beaches and other public spaces, but she says these are quieter than usual, too.

Eilidh H, also in Aberdeen, says the shops are open but empty, so “it’s actually been quite nice to look around them”.

You can’t see your mates – but a lot of people still are

Mollie is living with uni mates but has family in Manchester, who she hasn’t been able to see. Eilidh S says you aren’t allowed to see your mates or anyone outside your household, but said: “The majority of Aberdeen is going about as usual”. She says people have still been “secretly seeing” their mates and boyfriends.

Eilidh H says she’s seen a lot of people breaking the restrictions on social media: “There’s a lot of people on stories still having house parties and shit”, which she says is “frustrating”.

James lives on the outskirts of Manchester, and says: “It’s pretty confusing as I see countless people not abiding by the rules.”

‘We’re back to being stuck inside’

“It’s very odd, going from lockdown, to kind of back to normal, to lockdown again”, Eilidh S says. “It’s been difficult as we’ve all had that taste of normality and freedom and now we are back to being stuck inside. I know my mental health is suffering.”

Even though Aberdeen has a five-mile travel restriction, so you can’t travel more than five miles for leisure, Eilidh H says “it doesn’t feel as trapped” as the first, UK-wide lockdown, because shops and takeaways are still open – so there’s at least more things to do than sit in your room all day.


It’s hard seeing the rest of the country be allowed out

We all know lockdown, being stuck inside with quite literally nothing to do, is boring, but being stuck inside and seeing people in the rest of the country still living as normal is difficult.

Eilidh S says she and her mates are all “eager for it to be over, especially when lots of our friends on social media are out and about enjoying pubs again”. Her sister is at a different uni, so is going to pubs, restaurants, parties, and even planning a holiday – but Eilidh can’t do any of these things.

Eilidh H says it’s “weird”, and she gets “FOMO” watching people in other parts of the country out and about, but says she doesn’t “really mind” as she knows it wouldn’t be safe to do in Aberdeen. She says the local lockdown was “definitely needed to prevent the outbreak being even bigger”.

‘It’s good practice for next year at uni’

Mollie and her housemates have been “trying to acclimatise to being at home” and planning their uni work for next year, which she says will be “good practice” for online teaching. She says living with friends means the local lockdown “hasn’t felt too restrictive or oppressive”, as they can still have fun at home.

‘We’re doing lots of drinking, walks and Netflix’

Remember back in March when everyone was spending every day either running 10k, baking banana bread or doing nothing but drinking? It’s back to that for the people on local lockdowns.

Everyone I spoke to said they and their flatmates have been drinking, going on walks, reading and watching Netflix – and “too much online shopping”. Sounds familiar.

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