Whilst the thought of leaving the house to socialise may have been an ambitious dream just a few days ago, the latest government announcement has finally given us the good news we all needed: a post-lockdown world may be within our reach in the coming weeks- beer gardens and nightclubs included.
The “roadmap” exit from lockdown was announced by Boris Johnson on the 22nd of February, where it was stated that there would be a four-stage plan to slow the spread of Covid-19 as British businesses reopen and social distancing subsides.
Envisage yourself walking down the high street; the tourists have returned, the warm summer heat tempts you into the beer garden where you’ll meet bartenders like long-lost friends. This is just a glimpse into a post-lockdown Falmouth; a guide to what you can do in and out of the county to show support to friends, family and the local businesses that have got us through the last twelve months.
8th March 2021: Picnics, care home visits and the return of Falmouth University students
Flower buds are blossoming from overgrown shrubs in Swanpool, but even the dirty puddles won’t be dampening the spirits of those on a leisurely walk or stopping for a quick picnic along the coastline. Walking down the path, smiles from strangers are obvious, even hidden behind the steam of takeaway coffee cups. Catch-ups with a selected family member, perhaps a friend – as the meetings of two individuals are legally allowed to meet in recreational spaces once more.
Looking through the windows of the care home will perhaps be the most delightful sight of all, with residents reunited with a chosen visitor, some for the first time since the pandemic began. The solitude of the last twelve months, temporarily forgotten as grandmother and granddaughter are able to schedule weekly chats over a cup of tea – a lifeline granted for those perhaps most in need of familiar company.
Students will also arrive in their masses on the Penryn campus, cheering gleefully at the sight of old friends and course mates after three months spread across the country. Not only will Treliever Road resemble a traffic jam, but the nightmarish delays on Western Terrace will also resume. The sight of the mass of children running down the pavement, a sure sign that King Charles Primary School has reopened its doors.
29th March 2021: Outdoor meetings of two households and the return of grassroots sports
The days of heading out the front door in lycra and running shoes just to ‘bump into your mate’ on your ‘daily exercise’ have finally come to an end. As long as you stay outdoors, gatherings of two households, or six individuals, can commence, home-brewed pint in hand.
Waking up early on a Sunday morning no longer feels like a chore, children awake with a Christmas-esque excitement, bleary-eyed with butterflies as the first Sunday league game commences down at the Dracaena Centre.
Though this might not be a typical Easter Bank Holiday, where tourists overrun the high street in search of buckets, spades and ice cream, for Falmouth, it’s a rare opportunity to celebrate the town in its authentic form: the one where there are no queues for Harbour Lights’ takeaway, of course.
12th April 2021: Camping, beer gardens and non-essential retail to reopen
You’re packing up the car, concerned over the faint smell of Summer rain in the air. But it could even downpour and your optimism wouldn’t change because the ‘stay local’ travel restrictions have been lifted for two weeks now and you can finally feel comfortable take that camping trip to Dartmoor that you’ve spent weeks planning in the depths of winter.
Perhaps the newfound spring in your step comes instead from simple luxuries. Perhaps you manage to get an appointment at Black Dog Hairdressers to cover three months of grey hairs. Okay, you’ve still got to wear a mask, trading the four walls of your house for an afternoon of therapeutic gossip and a new ‘do’ is enough to smile about.
If not, the thought of the Five’s beer garden is sure to tempt you out of your back garden makeshift ‘bar’- the taste of a freshly poured pint of lager is somehow sweeter with friends on neighbouring tables and the gentle lapping of the waves as a backdrop to your first night of freedom.
17th May 2021: Outdoor gatherings of up to 30 and two households indoors
The changing of the seasons hopes to bring a relaxation of the social gathering limits: a world where thirty people can gather, at last, to witness the marriage of their friends- the now fourth attempt to marry without fear of lockdown, hopes to be the occasion to actually tie the knot.
Indoor hospitality provides an excellent alternative to a wedding reception- not that you’ll need the excuse of a wedding to visit the local tavern.
Opportunities to learn away from the internet screen will entertain those tired of the mind-numbing groundhog of the last few months with the National Maritime Museum can continue to educate locals and tourists alike on the town’s rich history and local libraries open to customers.
No longer will we run to the other side of the road when another pedestrian comes our way, fear of contamination will subside, with most social contact rules lifted.
21st June 2021: Restrictions lifted and the return of nightclubs
The final stage of returning to normality will be warmly received, it would appear, with many already calling to make this momentous occasion a bank holiday. This is expected to be when the final social contact restrictions are removed and everywhere from nightclubs to large sports venues are expected to reopen.
One last night at Mangos before a possible real-life graduation is enough to inspire any student through the final days of their dissertation and the thought of being able to hug random strangers in Club I? Not quite a priority, but surely a sign that things in Falmouth are as they were before the pandemic hit.
In the few weeks before schools finish for the summer and the number of tourists tenfold in the ‘fully booked’ Duchy, embrace this newfound freedom before you find yourself moaning about the emmets and their obsession with Perranporth.
Perhaps this may be a rather optimistic outlook on the latest announcement, but the thought of making such plans might just be enough to get us through this year.