05 Nov Reluctant resignation: England begins second lockdown | UK News
Along with the rest of England, people in the West Yorkshire city of Wakefield are beginning a new lockdown.
Until 2 December, at least, the majority of households cannot mix indoors or outdoors, non-essential shops will close along with hospitality venues, beauty services and leisure facilities.
In Wakefield, the prospect of another month under lockdown has been met by reluctant resignation.
On the eve of tighter restrictions, a man called out to me: “Have a nice Christmas – if we’re having one.”
Resident Marie Amos told me: “We’re treating tonight like Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Eve.”
It’s 7pm and she has already been out for a meal “and a few drinks” with her husband Kev.
“We haven’t actually been out in months,” she adds.
So why tonight?
“We just thought we should – who knows when we’ll next be able to?”
Restaurants on Wednesday night in central Wakefield were busy. I visited several and they were fully-booked.
Inside, no table looked bigger than six people.
But one manager told me, “I don’t really care if households mix tonight,” despite that being against regulations in Wakefield since mid-October.
Businesses seem tired of sympathy. They just want to capitalise on one final night out.
And there is a danger that impending lockdown, fuelled by frustration and alcohol, could lead to problems.
Nearby, a pub is selling pints of real ale for 99p.
Police cars are circling, watching for people not sticking to social distancing rules.
I meet Gill and Lucy.
“We’re going to get drunk,” they tell me.
“I don’t agree with this lockdown,” Gill says.
“Wakefield has struggled before and it’s just going to get worse. We’re in one of those areas where poverty is quite bad and we know people in poverty die.
“Suicide rates have gone up, people are not getting diagnosed with cancer and all anybody can see is COVID COVID COVID, it’s like they’ve got blinkers on.
“I’m not saying it isn’t a thing but we do have to be rational about it.
“So yeah, tonight we’re going to go out and drink.”
At Gaffers Hairdressers, the doors are staying open until 10pm, well past their usual closing time.
Even at 8pm there is a long queue of customers, and owner Andrew Prust says the last few days have “been mad busy” with people getting a pre-lockdown trim.
“But can three busy days make up for 28 closed ones?”
“It is what it is,” he says. “We just have to get on with it.”
It’s finally last orders and the police presence seems to have worked.
People head home, or at least off the streets, into a lockdown, that many here believe will go on much longer than 28 days.