Five major changes in Merseyside since lockdown

There is no doubt we have entered into a very different world from the one that existed before lockdown.

Even though certain areas of life have been allowed to re-start as we fumble our way towards a new normality, things are still far from being the same as they were.

Well-founded fears of a second spike if restrictions are eased too quickly means that coronavirus is still very much with us – and is likely to remain so until a vaccine is found which is proven to work.

One of the biggest changes will occur from July 23 – when face coverings become mandatory inside shops and enclosed spaces, with the threat of £100 fines for those who refuse to comply. They have, of course, always been required on public transport.

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In the meantime, what are the main differences you've noticed on Merseyside since the world began to open up a little bit more? Here we take a look.

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1) The city centre looks and feels very different

Even though shops are now widely re-opened, some still have massive queues outside, so you can't just pop in and grab what you need.

wirral airport transfers

And of course there are the one-way pedestrian routes around Liverpool ONE.

Several other major projects and new buildings have also started to take shape.

Castle Street is closed to traffic to maximise the space available for restaurants to spill out onto the streets, while Bold Street is also closed to traffic during the summer.

A major revamp of The Strand is under way, which has seen lanes closed off.

The road, which runs along Liverpool's waterfront, will lose a lane of vehicle traffic in each direction in favour of better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians as part of a £22m upgrade to reduce congestion and improve safety and air quality.

New trees were recently planted on the Strand and more will be placed in the central reservations as part of the scheme.

The changes to the Strand include the introduction of a segregated cycle land and the removal of a lane of vehicle traffic in either direction.

Excavation of the central reservation is also being carried out between Leeds Street and Mann Island.

Old buildings have disappeared behind scaffolding for refurbishment work to be carried out – like the Lyceum at the bottom of Bold Street.

And new ones have appeared – such as the new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

The £162m, 11 storey specialist care hospital will help deliver specialist cancer care including immunotherapy and advanced radio therapy to people in Mereyside and Cheshire.

The new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

The cancer centre, which is located next to the Royal and the University of Liverpool, will work alongside existing specialist cancer care sites in Wirral and Aintree as well as hospitals across the region.

2) Public transport

Travelling by public transport is now also governed by social distancing measures.

On trains these are indicated by, for example, red tickets on seats which are off limits, and green ones where people are allowed to sit.

People coming out of Lime Street Station.(Pic Andrew Teebay).

And rather than checking tickets, you are now more likely to be checked that you are wearing a face mask.

Refreshments on longer-distance journeys are also off the menu.

3) Pubs

Pubs are now more like restaurants, with table service and sitting outside the preferred option.

Concert Square as pubs reopen in Liverpool

You might also have your temperature checked on the way in too.

4) Hair salons and barbers

A visit to the salon or barbers' is now very different than it was before lockdown, with limited contact with stylists, staggered arrival times and face masks required in some instances.

Huge queues for 051 barbers on Whitechapel

And nearly all places that once operated a "walk-in" system now require you to make an appointment – sometimes many days in advance.

Once there, you will be asked to use a hand sanitiser and wear a mask, as well as leave your contact details in case any customer or member of staff tests positive for coronavirus,

5) Driving lessons

If you're having driving lessons, you will have to keep the windows rolled down and sanitise your hands before the lesson starts.

The wheel is also wiped down and masks are optional.