The national lockdown ends on December 2nd, with many expecting to make their way into the town centre again. The question is, how has this 4-week lockdown affected Colchester? The atmosphere of the touristic town has not been bustling like usual.

The main effect has been on Colchester’s businesses. On November 5th, restaurants, pubs, entertainment venues, hairdressers and non-essential shops shut their doors for a second time. Colchester’s Eld Lane, known for its small businesses, was desolate throughout the period. Our beloved restaurants lost eat-in customers, a significant part of Colchester’s busy street-life.

There were also cancellations of some annual Colchester events. Due to the rise of COVID-19 cases, King Coel’s Kittens decided to cancel their bonfire night fireworks. Though, the cancellation came before the second lockdown. This event usually draws in tourists from nearby and harmonises the Colchester community. As well as this, Colchester Borough Council decided to cancel the Christmas light switch-on event. This was a particular disappointment, with the town lacking its usual festive cheer. Nevertheless, the decorations and lights can still be seen across the centre, spreading festivity through some tough times.

As we all know, Colchester is exceptionally historic, with it being Britain’s oldest recorded town. Each year, Colchester draws in thousands of tourists to its historic sites and monuments. The lockdown halted this, making the centre oddly quiet. Popular attraction Colchester Castle also regrettably closed, releasing an online museum tour instead. Colchester’s history and uniqueness have been isolated along with the citizens.

Across the country, the arts have been most affected by COVID-19 and the lockdowns. Productions have not gone ahead, resulting in theatres losing visitors. Colchester takes pride in its Mercury Theatre, with its annual Christmas panto being a popular family outing. Unfortunately, the newly built site has not been used much with the panto cancelled this year. However, it is encouraged that you purchase a ticket to their online viewing to support our local theatre. As well as this, art centre Firstsite has been closed with art being left unadmired. These places give character to Colchester, and it has been tough seeing them closed.

But, has the second lockdown even been effective in Colchester? It seems that the infection rate decreased in Colchester, unlike most areas of Essex. Last week there were 69.8 cases per 100,000 people in Colchester, which is a fall compared to 93.5 the week before. However, currently, there has been a surge in cases, despite the lockdown still being in place. There were 151 cases reported this week, creating an infection rate of 77.6.

Essex will be under tier two restrictions after the lockdown. We must continue to protect others alongside supporting local businesses safely.