A year ago, Britain closed its doors and the streets emptied.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the British on March 23, 2020 to stay at home “to protect the NHS and save lives” in the fight to overcome the spread of the coronavirus, the “biggest threat this country has faced for decades” , to master.
The pandemic peak came just over two weeks later, when on April 8, the UK recorded more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in one day. The government would not relax coronavirus restrictions for another two months as Covid-19 spread across the country.
Workers moved into their homes while schools, non-essential stores, pubs, garden centers and restaurants closed. Football stadiums and other sports venues came to a standstill. Socially distant queues gathered around supermarkets as delivery times became scarce.
There was a run on basics like toilet rolls as many dreaded shelves would be emptied. Flour became a luxury because people trapped at home started cooking and baking.
Many lost their jobs and turned to the government’s leave scheme to help them through the troubled times.
Companies went under. Homeschooling and Zoom calls from the bathroom became a way of life for many.
Some companies were luckier than others. The Royal Bakery on Stoke Newington High Street, serving pastries, curries and coffee, remained open for takeaways most of the year, but had to operate on a shorter schedule.
“It has been a big change for us,” says owner Malika, who has run the family bakery for about 15 years and did not want to give it its full name. “We had a lot of older people coming here, sitting and spending good money,” she said. “People now have no money, everyone is scared, everyone is worried. It’s very quiet. “
Ingredient costs have skyrocketed over the past year as suppliers struggled, but Malika did not increase her prices. “Because otherwise we won’t have any customers,” she said. “Not many people can afford much more.”
Along the way at The Zumrut Artistic Florist, owner Monika, who also asked not to print her full name, faced price increases of as much as 10 percent from suppliers, and in turn had to increase hers.
She imports most of her flowers from the Netherlands and has therefore been hit by coronavirus restrictions and leaving the UK from the EU. “After the first lockdown at the end of May, it was insanely busy, people went crazy,” said Monika.
But since then, she said, things have been tough. The UK, which is under lockdown restrictions for the third time since the pandemic was discovered in the country, faces a relaxation of rules next week when six people, or two households, can meet in private gardens .