Life in UK post-lockdown: Londoners share their stories

Like many other cities worldwide, London experienced several lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These lockdowns were implemented to reduce the spread of the virus and protect public health.

During the lockdowns, residents of London were required to stay at home except for essential activities such as buying groceries, seeking medical care, or exercising. Non-essential businesses, including restaurants, bars, and retail stores, were closed, although some establishments were allowed to operate for takeaway or delivery services. Schools and universities transitioned to remote learning, and people were encouraged to work from home whenever possible.

Travel restrictions were also imposed, with limitations on domestic and international travel. Social gatherings were strictly limited, and people were advised to maintain physical distancing and wear face coverings in public spaces where social distancing was impossible.

The lockdown measures had a significant impact on daily life in London. Many cultural and entertainment venues, such as theatres, museums, and galleries, were temporarily closed. Events, including sports matches and concerts, were either cancelled or held without spectators. The economic consequences were also felt, with businesses facing challenges and some individuals experiencing financial difficulties due to job losses or reduced income.

London residents share how the COVID-19 lockdown affected them:

Lost friends

Pedro says:

I don’t think I’ve recovered from the Lockdown. Emotionally, it changed things, and that isolation was terrible. Picking up social groups again is so difficult. I look with real anger at the Govt, especially when they ignored the rules they set.

Hard to socialize again

Picard says:

I lost a lot of friends during lockdown and it’s been hard to socialise again. I genuinely struggle to talk to people now and things don’t feel the same.


Geo says:

I moved home from New York [to London] during the summer of 2020. Felt like I spent the following months only talking to my wife and my toddler and have lost all confidence socially. Brutal!

Only one in the train!

Muffin says:

I remember taking the Central Line to work one day (I was an essential worker) and I was the only one on it at Liverpool Street. Never gonna forget that thats for sure.


Kris says:

The most eerie walk of my life was walking through soho (I lived nearby) around April 2020, and seeing it absolutely empty. Not one soul, all from Oxford Circus down Dean St, it was so sad. Also with my state of mind, It felt like it was hopeless inside and out. Once things started looking up a bit, and the sun came out, you could see people in the windows, downstairs having a smoke, it looked calm but still alive. The death silence of the first lockdown was terrifying. I was gone from London before December that year so I didn’t suffer too much in that next lockdown.

There must be studies in the making coming from psychiatrists and sociologists on this massive event no? There must be some sort of global PTSD that were not yet fully aware of. Because it feels like all is fine, life went back to normal, it feels like it happened to a different person in a different world, yet it’s so easy to access the feeling of absolute terror of seeing my husband sick that March? I can just feel the worry for my parents, it’s not normal to have this raw feeling just there behind a flimsy door in the brain, it feels like it all went away yet it didn’t.

December was worse!

DS says:

The lockdown was fine for the first month or so, but December was shite. I somehow planned to move out of my flat the day when they announced the London lockdown that evening so I was already at my parents. The chaos of the constant rule-changing was insane, and I now realise how little it affected the ultra-wealthy who either just broke the rules, or went abroad to avoid them. Not saying I’d protest lockdowns but you some really dangerous behaviours went unchallenged whilst kids weren’t allowed to run around in parks…

Christmas was cancelled!

EEL says:

Let’s not forget this: Boris cancelled our Christmas.

Some people actually miss the Lockdown!

DT says:

I weirdly miss it.

KMT says:

 Looking back, it was a nice break for a lot of people, no commute. No crazy traffic, no crowds, no shops open that were constantly trying to sell you the new widget. If you were in a job you could work from home and you were stable with money it was a nice time for some. As soon as I could golf again and at the same time still be able to play the “not coming into the office because covid and dont have to” line it really hit the sweet spot.

There was also a time between lockdown 1 and 2, before the vaccine where you could travel but with some restrictions. I had some nice trips to Jersey, Gibraltar and to Venice. Venice without cruise ships, American or Chinese tourists, and about 1/5 of the normal amount of people there in the summer. Flights were cheap, hotels were cheap, I was saving money thanks to no commute and I had more hours in the day for me. Between Lockdown 1 and lockdown 2, before the crazy conspiracy nuts had time to get organised, that was 100% the sweet spot if you or someone close to you didnt get Covid of course…

Naya says:

Kinda miss it tbh. I live on a busy road in Camden and I miss it being just…empty and silent.


You can find the rest of this conversation on Reddit.

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