Covid Retrospective: Reprieve from The Rat Race

Covid Retrospective: Reprieve from The Rat Race

Russell Alcock

Two and a half years after the first coronavirus lockdown, the UK is slowly getting back to normal. Let’s take a look back at what happened when the world was at a standstill.

The Roads were Clear; The Air was Clean

It was eerie. The roads were so empty that pollution fell by more than half in cities.

In fact, town centres were so deserted that the town centre of Llandudno was taken over by a herd of 122 Kashmiri goats in March of 2022. These goats roamed around the quiet streets of this coastal town in North Wales, eating flowers and hedges in their way.

Petrol Cost 99.9p Per Litre

Going for a drive during the lockdown was a relaxing endeavour. Road rage was a thing of the past and filling up the car with petrol cost you £50 on average. 

And best of all, you actually got to enjoy the scenery without the hustle and bustle of the city distracting you. Some councils even installed patio seating on roads and planters in former parking spaces.

More Pleasant Queues

The great thing about social distancing was that nobody breathed on the back of your neck in the queue. Of course this was in exchange for some seriously long queues outside of shops. 

Illness Being taken Seriously at Work

If you were part of the workforce that had to continue going into work, your health was at least taken seriously. Your employers insisting that you take a sick leave was a nice change of pace. 

Normalising Home-working

Working from home used to be a very niche perk that only a chosen few could enjoy. But the lockdowns blew that door open and suddenly the vast majority of the workforce completed their tasks at home.

It was such a bizarre development. Our world became limited to the four corners of our homes and yet our job opportunities extended farther than ever before. 

Even time seemingly stretched during the lockdown. One moment you’re deep into your corporate tasks and then just a minute later, you’re walking your dog or tending to the garden. We finally found free time but there were also times when we were bored out of our minds.

A Real Sense of Community

Modern life has been slowly eroding our sense of community. Get up. Prepare for work. Commute to work. Do the work. Commute back home. Rest and repeat.

But that first lockdown awakened something in us. We were speaking to our families and neighbours more, albeit through screens. But we were checking on each other. Offering help to those who were struggling.

It’s unfortunate that we have once again gone back to the rat race. The coronavirus pandemic was terrible. But there were lessons that we’ve learned because of it. Lessons that we are seemingly too eager to forget.

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