FOR nearly a month now we’ve enjoyed more freedom after the government dropped the “stay at home” message and the nation entered the second part of prime minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap.

People were allowed outdoors in groups of six, or as two households and outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and open-air swimming pools reopened.

Then, on April 12, non-essential shops, outdoor hospitality and hairdressers reopened, meaning we could all get a much-needed hair cut and go for a long-awaited pint.

But what’s happened from March 29 until now and where are we in the pandemic?


On March 29, just 20 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Dorset, 14 in the BCP Council area and six in the Dorset Council area.

Between March 29 and April 5, 50 cases were recorded in the BCP Council area, giving a rolling infection rate of 12.6 per 100,000 of the population.

The Dorset Council area had 42 cases and a rolling infection rate of 11.1 per 100,000 people.

Bournemouth Echo:

In the week leading up to April 11, BCP’s rolling infection rate was 11.9 while Dorset’s was 15.6.

Although it is difficult to draw any conclusions from these figures, it perhaps suggests that cases have remained steady since the easing of lockdown.

However, there is always the risk, as restrictions ease further, cases could rise.


Residents flocked to the beach on the first Monday since restrictions eased.

Hundreds of people took advantage of the good weather and headed for the seafront on March 29.

A couple from Westbourne said: “This is the first time I have been able to see my daughter who lives in Christchurch in almost three months.

“We have stuck to the rules, but it was hard at time.

“I am just so happy that we have been able to see each other and enjoy a lovely walk on the beach.”

Bournemouth Echo:

On April 10, two days before restrictions eased, protesters took to Bournemouth town centre to campaign against said restrictions.

Signs read “people vaccinate out of fear, people refuse to vaccinate out of knowledge” and “end lockdown, save lives” as campaigners chanted “freedom”.

One of the campaigners, 71-year-old Mike, said: “All them, Whitty, Hancock, they’re saying ‘save your granny’, well I’m sorry to say grannies die.

“They’re old, they die. They’re very good at the propaganda, poor old kids who can’t hug their grannies, can’t see their grannies, they’re terrified.

“How long is it going to go on for? The only way we’re going to stop it, is for people to stop it and to say ‘that’s enough’.”

Bournemouth Echo:


Sam Crowe, director of Public Health Dorset, said it would take a few weeks for the latest easing of restrictions to impact the data.

He said: “The first easing of restrictions in March focused on increasing social contact outdoors, where we know the risk of transmission is much lower.

“Cases across both Dorset and BCP Council areas have generally remained at around 10-20 cases per 100,000 of the population over the last few weeks.

“Whilst we do see small fluctuations in the numbers week on week, this is to be expected whilst transmission remains relatively low.

“In the last week we’ve seen restrictions eased further, with more shops and businesses able to reopen and the return of outdoor hospitality.

“It will take a few weeks before we can see the impact of this step on our cases, but we do need everyone to play their part in keeping cases low. If you’re meeting others, please remember you still need to maintain a safe distance and follow the guidance on hands, face, space and fresh air.

“Regular rapid testing is now available to all adults in England to help us identify and isolate asymptomatic cases and break chains of transmission.

“We would like to see as many people as possible taking part in this, including those who have been vaccinated as it is still possible to catch and spread Covid-19. Further details on rapid testing and how to get your tests can be found at

“All viruses mutate over time, and Public Health England routinely monitor for Covid-19 variants. We will continue to work with PHE and other partners to ensure any local action is ready to be taken if this were necessary.”

The next easing of restrictions is meant to be on May 17, which could allow international travel.

How do you feel about the roadmap, is it working? Is it not cautious enough or too cautious? Will you be jetting away next month?