Neighbourhood’s frustration and fear as coronavirus rules tighten

Liverpool is currently fighting to stop the spread of coronavirus.

It was recently revealed that urgent action was being taken in the Princes Park area of Liverpool, as cases of the contagious virus were beginning to rise.

New measures have been put in place, with people being advised not to enter each other’s homes or stay overnight.

Care home visits, gatherings and events in the ward have also been cancelled.

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But as Princes Park tries to get a grip on the virus once more, other wards in the city are trialling out new measures.

Two wards neighbouring Princes Park, Picton and Greenbank, have been given specific restrictions around care homes, with no visiting allowed for the time being.

The Picton ward includes areas such as Wavertree Park, Toxteth Park Cemetery, Edge Hill and a large area of Smithdown Road. At latest count, it had nine current cases, compared to less than five in most parts of the city.

Picton is currently only being subject to the new restrictions that specifically apply to care homes – with all visiting suspended.

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To understand how this is affecting people, and what this could mean if a local lockdown is put in place, we visit the people who live and work there.

‘As a carer, it’s frustrating to see’

Carer Liezel Gaborno, 38, in Wavertree.

Carer Liezel Gaborno said she has largely observed social distancing in the area but there have been occasions where it’s not been followed.

We spoke to Lizel, 38, on her way back from work. She described how frustrating it was to see people flout rules.

She said: “It’s really frustrating and it’s so disappointing because, mostly, you have to be really extra careful. People are afraid [to be close] with other people, which is so unusual.

“Especially as a carer – people see our uniform and they know we’re going to care for someone, so they can be a little bit off with us.

“It’s not so nice.

“You’ve been extra careful with your job and everything, and [then] you see people drinking in the pub and smoking their cigarettes, or sitting beside each other or talking so closely, and it’s frustrating.”

If a local lockdown were to take place, Lizel said her day-to-day life would not be affected as much, but she understood the struggles of when the city was last locked down.

She said: “It really doesn’t affect me that much.

“It’s frustrating because you can’t go somewhere else after your work, like the city centre.

"For me, as a mother, it was frustrating the schools were closed and when you finished work you had to tutor.”

‘God knows what would happen if there was another lockdown’

Barber Kevin Crawford, 68, outside of High Street Barbers, in Wavertree

Barber Kevin Crawford said he was surprised to hear cases had been rising, because the footfall on Wavertree High Street has dropped so much.

The 68-year-old said: “I wasn’t surprised there was a spike in Woolton, because apparently there’s been a lot of crowds there.”

Gesturing to outside of his business, he added: “But as you can see, I can’t see why there’s a spike round this area because there’s no big crowds, no big gatherings. So I don’t know where that’s coming from.

“Everybody I see has masks on. Anyone who comes in here wears a mask, I wear my mask and my visor.”

Kevin said he was concerned coronavirus could spread in parts of the country again because of the lack of clarity when it came to guidance.

Barber Kevin Crawford, in Wavertree

He said: “I think half the problem is the rules are so confusing. Why do they keep changing it?

“The only reason I know is because I get texts from other hairdressers and barbers so I know what’s going on.”

A local lockdown could be devastating for the area though, he said, after recovering from the strict lockdown earlier in the year.

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He said: “I think it would kill most of the businesses.

"As you can see now [a lot] have their shutters down. We’re probably running less than 50% of what we normally do and if we lockdown again, God knows what that would go to.

“Especially if there’s other areas open, because people will just go from this area to another.”

‘I’m proud of the way Liverpool’s responded to coronavirus’

Debbie Calvert in Wavertree

Down the road from Kevin, Debbie Calvert was visiting a nail salon.

As staff and customers wore masks, Debbie said she thought the way the people of Liverpool had responded to coronavirus was good.

When compared to other parts of the country, Debbie felt people largely were respectful of the rules.

But in terms of the recent rise in cases, Debbie said she wasn’t shocked, and believed that the government "should have held back a little bit" when it came to reopening pubs and restaurants.

She said: "They knew there was going to be another outbreak.”

Debbie Calvert

Debbie, who works for Merseyrail, has witnessed a majority of people safely following the social distance guidelines and mandatory mask wearing.

She said: “I’ve seen a lot of the public coming through and I think, generally, Liverpool’s done really, really well.

“People are wearing masks. You look at the likes of London and things, but I’m very proud of Liverpool for that and for the way people have followed the rules.

“I think people would listen [if there was another lockdown]. It would affect the businesses round here more so, but I think everyone is just trying to follow what the government advises.”

'There's going to be another rise, and we all know it'

Susan Hamley in Wavertree

Susan Hamley, 43, was taking her dog for a walk with her mother, who had been forced to shield during the height of the pandemic.

She believes another lockdown is likely due to the lack of social distancing.

She said: “My mother has cancer and she’s going in for an operation, and some people are [being] ridiculous. I have to travel on the bus and I see people not wearing a mask.

“I’ve said to the driver before ‘why are you letting people on the bus [without a mask]’, when it states you must.

“And he said ‘I can’t police it.' I said, 'I know, but you’ve got a right to not let people on without a mask,' and he said he understood.

“I’ve noticed it in shops too, it’s not getting done.”

Susan said some of her family live in Australia, where she claimed the “beautiful beaches” were largely empty, compared to the crowds seen in the UK.

She added: “It’s an absolute joke. There’s going to be a rise and we all know it, especially when the flu [in winter] hits.

“I think everywhere will need a local lockdown. They’re trying to save the economy, but I’m worried it’s dragging it out and it will make it worse.”

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