As we reach stage one of Boris Johnson’s roadmap for lifting lockdown on 29th March, The Oxford Blue takes a look at the incoming changes and how they have been received by the students at the University of Oxford.

Just over a year after the start of the initial nationwide lockdown, England is seeing an easing of restrictions, with similar changes occurring in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK vaccination drive is steadily progressing, with over 30 million people (57.2% of adults) having had their first COVID vaccine dose, and 3 million having received their second. As a result, the stay-at-home order has been lifted, coinciding with a heatwave which is sure to bring back memories of summer 2018.

People in England will now be allowed to:

  • Meet outside in groups of six or as two households
  • Visit outdoor sports facilities and take part in organised sport
  • Have weddings with up to six people in attendance

In addition to this, there is now unrestricted travel across Wales.

Crucially though, while the incoming changes will certainly boost the hopes of many businesses, they have also produced a positive response in Oxford University’s community. The Oxford Blue spoke to 14 students about their respective feelings on the changes.

Here are just some of the responses we received:

How are you feeling about the easing of restrictions?

“I’ve been counting down every second of each day in eager anticipation”

“Excited, but anxious about resuming socialising, as I feel I may have forgotten how”

However, some were more cautious:

“Uneasy – will result in a 4th lockdown if we’re not careful”

What do you think will be the first thing you do on Monday?

“Drinks and a barbecue with friends”

“Hopefully see my boyfriend/friends outdoors”

“Go for a picnic with some friends”

How do your feelings now compare to the end of the initial lockdown?

“I feel much more excited this time round”

“I’m more anxious than last time, this lockdown has damaged my mental health in a way the previous lockdowns did not”

“Slightly more frustrated but I’m also more optimistic”

“Indifferent – used to this now”

Overall then, there is a slightly positive outlook between the students, reflective of a study body which wants to move forwards. However, it is important to realise the toll that lockdown has taken on mental and physical wellbeing. So as we head into an uncertain future, let’s go forward with hope.

Image Credits: Larisa Koshkina, Pixabay

Molayo is a Christian and musician outside his studies and role as Senior News Editor. He likes to write on a range of topics, from Oxford news to international affairs. Having grown up in London, he has grown up amidst diversity and is a strong advocate of letting all voices be heard.