Coronavirus: Caerphilly’s first week in lockdown

People in only local authority area in Wales to be put into local lockdown are beginning their second week of restrictions.

From cancelled appointments to staycations within the county, people in one Caerphilly county village describe what the past week has been like for them.

People in Caerphilly had become accustomed to restrictions being gradually eased, but a spike in Covid-19 cases saw the area revert to rules not dissimilar to those imposed at the height of the nation-wide lockdown.

The restrictions, which include not being able to leave the county without good reason or meet people from other households indoors, will be in place until at least October.

  • Caerphilly coronavirus lockdown: What are the rules?

The Welsh Government said since the new measures were introduced, formal enforcement action had only been necessary on rare occasions as the vast majority of people had understood why the measures were “so important”.

Businesses owners in Bedwas said they felt the impact as soon as the lockdown was announced.

Image caption

Salon owner Janine Christopher says she is “doing the best she can”

‘Fifty cancellations’

Janine Christopher, who owns Million Hair in the village, said: “As soon as this started again, people decided it was too much of a risk [to visit a hairdressers] – a lot of them hadn’t come back anyway.

“The next day I probably had about 50 cancellations, so the business has hit the floor again. But we’re doing the best we can.

“I tried to save a bit of money to make sure we can carry on, but the High Street has been dead.”

She said her father had had an operation in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, and not being able to visit him had been “a bit scary”.

Image caption

Xiaojian Liu says his customers forget the rules

Xiaojian Liu runs the Bedwas general store with his wife Fang.

He said despite the signs they have put up to outline the rules, people still forget.

“Sometimes we have to keep asking the customers – ‘wear your mask please’ and tell them ‘only three customers at one time.’

“So we feel a little bit frustrated. Most people are still not used to it – most wear masks, they know from the TV, newspapers – but some are still not used to it.

“Most people say ‘I forgot, I’m sorry’.”

On Monday morning, there were plenty of people in and out of the shops and businesses on Church Street – the main road through the village.

Image caption

Shopper Linda Kedwood says people are not listening to the rules

Mother and son Linda and Gareth Kedward were among them.

“I don’t think much has changed,” said Ms Kedward.

“There’s still a lot of people around, there’s still people not listening.

“And mixed messages from the government – it’s changing every other day. You don’t know if you’re doing right for doing wrong.

“One of the most frustrating things is not being able to spend time with your loved ones,” said her son.

“You can go and meet them outside, but at least with your own family, you know where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing.

“You have far more trust in those as opposed to going into a shop and you’ve got people pushing past you.”

Image caption

Glamping company owners Richard and Lydia Watts are seeing more guests who live close by

With people in the county told they cannot go on holiday, some have chosen to take a break closer to home.

Under the Oak Glamping, run by husband and wife Richard and Lydia Watts, had to cancel its 25 bookings from outside of the county, missing out on about £12,000 in revenue.

So now they have switched their attention to attracting local business.

“We’d heard some people in the area had had their holidays cancelled, so we wondered if a few people might be interested in coming here instead – and we were inundated,” said Mrs Watts.

“The furthest people are coming from is the Blackwood area – we’ve had people coming who are literally five minutes’ drive away. It’s nice to be connecting to the local community. “

Image caption

Some businesses have put handwritten signs up to remind customers of the rules

Caerphilly’s Member of the Senedd Hefin David said he felt people had been coming together to get through it.

“I don’t think this is about blaming people, but finding that community spirit we had through that first lockdown and to find that spirit that we had to enable us to get this under control,” he said.

“Everything I’ve seen is that people are making incredible efforts to do that.”

BBC News