Living in Lockdown

On March 23, 2020, the UK went into lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent emergence of the COVID-19 infection.

Since then, it’s been a time of staying home for large numbers of the population, regaled daily by government spokespeople, advertising and social media messages to “Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.”

It’s been a time of an emerging ‘new normal’ that began with panic buying of some household basics especially toilet roll and hand gel (sanitizer); and, since the lockdown was put into place almost three weeks ago, settling into a new pattern of shopping that takes a great deal more time with queueing to enter a supermarket and the tricky matter of social distancing.

Going out is a limited activity. In my case, it’s characterised by occasional walks and visits to the supermarket, itself a novel experience now as we have been accustomed in recent years to online ordering and weekly deliveries of grocery items to our house. Now, that’s rare if and when you can actually find an available delivery slot with your favourite supermarket.

So a new shopping pattern has emerged that’s largely about planning and prep before you go (a groceries app where you can categorise items by supermarket aisle is very handy); face masks, latex gloves and hand gel; getting to the store at a time that hopefully minimises your queueing and time in store; and getting used to customer marshalling by store staff to help ensure that the shopping experience is as good as it can be in the circumstances, for shoppers and staff.

I wrote about my initial such experiences last week and published that on Facebook.

Over the past month, I’ve snapped some photos to reflect what I saw and experienced on visits to branches near me of Waitrose, M&S Foodhall, Tesco and Sainsburys, assembled below. I’ve added a couple of additional images to generally reflect the focus and mood about the lockdown and the grocery shopping experience.

Some simple views, a snapshot in time covering much of March 2020. Nothing deep here: if you want that, just go online or turn on the TV news.

I wonder what I’ll see for the camera in a month’s time.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.