New year, new lockdown
The news was not surprising. On 4 January 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would be going into its third lockdown – and warned the public that the next few weeks were going to be tough. Covid rates have skyrocketed in recent days – and despite Amble’s own positive test numbers dropping*, the national situation called for tougher measures, including the closure of schools.
So lockdown means: Stay At Home, and it takes effect from 5 January. All but essential shops must close, but some can offer click and collect service. Restaurants and takeaways can offer take away or delivery only. Everyone must remain at home except for taking exercise, or to go to work if they can’t work from home. The full list of what we can and can’t do can be found here:
Despite the gloom, Amble GP Dr Ben Burville reassured people that they should not feel alone. “You may feel shocked, hopeless & anxious with uncertainty. STOP – breathe & think of all the good things you have, your health, loved ones & friends. Focus on right now, a cup of tea, a smile. You are not alone, we will not let you down. We are #NHS.
The last couple of months has seen a tightening of restrictions; on 5 November 2020, the country was placed into a second national lockdown, and Northumberland emerged from that into Tier4, at the beginning of December. Lockdown 3 may last until mid February at the earliest.
But the future has begun to look much better, as news broke that the much awaited vaccines – first from Pfizer and then from Oxford/AstraZeneca, were ready to be introduced. A national vaccination roll out began in mid December, while Amble’s health centre received their first batches of the vaccine at the end of December.
Ann Burke, chair of Amble Business Club told The Ambler: “I think this lockdown, although necessary, it is very frustrating for the businesses that are having to close doors and look to website sales and click and collect. For the essential shops, they are all having to look again at deliveries which is so beneficial and essential to the community. Hopefully with vaccine rollout we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.”
We have updated our useful contacts list which gives information on how to access Amble Health Centre, pharmacies and other advice helplines, where to access covid -related grants and financial advice, as well as phone numbers for Amble essential shops, restaurants and take aways.
*Amble registered 36 cases in both wards on 30 November. On 27 December the number had fallen to 0-4 in both wards. Info from Northumberland County Council’s dashboard