IT HAS been two years since the country plunged into the first national lockdown. 

March 23, 2022, marks the second anniversary of Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the first UK lockdown.

From wearing face coverings to getting vaccinated, life looks very different now compared to two years ago. 

Across England most Covid restrictions have ended with the government setting out its ‘living with Covid’ plan earlier this year.

Here we look back at some of the key moments in Dorset from the past two years in pictures:

March 2020 

England entered its first full national lockdown on March 23.

Town centres, public spaces and the seafront became eerily quiet in a way that we had never seen before as we got used to new restrictions and what they would mean for the way we live our lives. 

Bournemouth Airport became something of a car park for British Airways planes with dozens of jumbo jets seen parked up at the airport.

Bournemouth Echo: Picture by Stephen BathPicture by Stephen Bath

May, 2020

Dorset became something of a hotspot for daytrippers with Durdle Door bearing the brunt of visitors.

Thousands of people flocked to the World Heritage Site with concerns raised about overcrowding generally at Dorset's beauty spots as the weather warmed up and people became eager to get away from home. 

Sadly, on May 30, three people seriously injured themselves jumping off Durdle Door arch into the sea. 

Bournemouth Echo: Picture by Purbeck PolicePicture by Purbeck Police

June, 2020

Cruise ships started to become something of an attraction off the Bournemouth coast.

The first ship to arrive was the Aurora which was followed by a number of other cruise ships as the pandemic took hold.

The cruise liners needed somewhere to anchor because there wasn't enough room for them in Southampton.

Bournemouth Echo: Picture by Linda SheppardPicture by Linda Sheppard

On June 25, 2020, the UK was in the midst of a heatwave which saw temperatures in the south reach more than 30C on numerous occasions.

A 'major incident' was declared in Bournemouth, after half a million people descended on the beach. 

The chaos happened during an easing of lockdown restrictions and resulted in visitors from as far as Birmingham travelling to the coast.

READ MORE: When major incident was declared on Bournemouth beach

Bournemouth Echo: One year on: when major incident was declared on Bournemouth beachOne year on: when major incident was declared on Bournemouth beach

​​July, 2020

July 4 was a big day in the calendar as pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopened for the first time in several months.

Many of us were finally able to lose our lockdown locks and get our first proper haircut. 

November, 2020

A second national lockdown was declared in November with non-essential shops closing for four weeks.

Lasting until December, people were seen getting their daily exercise on the beach.

Despite the lockdown, hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters gathered in Bournemouth to voice their anger over the coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: Bournemouth beach busy whilst town centre falls silent

December, 2020

Dorset residents saw a number of changes throughout the month of December. 

Tiers and the 'rule of six'

The second national lockdown in November ended on December 2 with the BCP and Dorset areas entering the 'high alert' Tier 2 restrictions.

Schools, pubs, restaurants and gyms were open but there was no household mixing with the 'rule of six' applying in outdoor settings. 

By the end of December the BCP area was in Tier 4 restrictions and Dorset was in Tier 3.

January, 2021

The country entered its third national lockdown after many children had returned to school for just one day following the Christmas break.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said people would only able to leave their homes for limited reasons, with measures expected to stay in place until mid-February.

Bournemouth Echo:

READ MORE: PICTURES: Bournemouth on day one of latest national lockdown

University Hospitals Dorset said 600 beds could be needed to treat Covid patients by around January 20 with the projections branded "frightening". 

February, 2021

In late February, local health authority Public Health Dorset said hospitalisations were still higher than seen at any point in 2020, however, the case rates were falling.

March, 2021

Dorset had seen a significant drop on case rates, hospitalisations and deaths thanks to the impact of lockdown and the vaccine rollout with case rates in the BCP area falling below the England and south west average.

April, 2021

Thousands of people across the county starting coming forward for their Covid vaccinations as access to jabs was released by age group.

Bournemouth Echo: Primark queuesPrimark queues

Lockdown measures were eased on April 12, with shops, hairdressers and pub beer gardens reopening. 

A queue of eager shoppers could be seen waiting to get into Primark at the Dolphin Shopping Centre at 7.40am when rules were relaxed.

READ MORE: PICTURED: Primark fans queue early to get into Poole store

May 2021

As vaccines became available for the younger generations, university students were quick to get in line. 

Hundreds of students from across Bournemouth University, Arts University Bournemouth and AECC queued at the BIC vaccination hub.

READ MORE: Covid: BIC vaccine jabs for university students called off

Bournemouth Echo: Student walk-in Covid vaccine jabs at the BIC scrapped after hectic morningStudent walk-in Covid vaccine jabs at the BIC scrapped after hectic morning

June 2021

With lockdown measures easing and a heatwave on our hands, thousands of visitors flocked to our coastline to enjoy what Dorset has to offer.

However, chaos ensued with car parks full and on-street parking taken, drivers took matters into their own hands by parking on roundabouts and on double yellow lines.

READ MORE: Chaotic parking as cars abandoned on roundabout and pavements

July 2021

Lockdown restrictions came to a formal end on July, 19 with people able to see loved ones inside and the 'rule of six' was officially over.

Parking chaos continued to get worse with illegal parking madness continuing throughout the summer. 

Bournemouth Echo: Illegal parking in Bournemouth this summerIllegal parking in Bournemouth this summer

Nightclubs and other venues with large crowds were also allowed to open for the first time since March 2020. 

READ MORE: Bournemouth nightclubs to visit on 'Freedom Day'

September 2021

The Covid booster roll-out begins, initially introduced to over 75s and people with weakened immune systems the booster would be offered to all by the end of January, 2022. 

November 2021

A new variant, known as Omicron, arrived in the UK and by the end of November there were five cases in Dorset.

It originated in South Africa and is suspected to have spread from the dense urban province of Gauteng, between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

This variant went on to spread rapidly and saw cases sky-rocket and added extra pressure to our hospitals.

But things weren't all doom and gloom as the Christmas Tree Wonderland and Alpine market returned to Bournemouth for the first time since the start of the pandemic. 

Bournemouth Echo: First night of Christmas Tree Wonderland in Bournemouth. Lower Gardens lit up with trees. Credit: Richard CreaseFirst night of Christmas Tree Wonderland in Bournemouth. Lower Gardens lit up with trees. Credit: Richard Crease

READ MORE:  In pictures: Christmas Tree Wonderland in Bournemouth

December 2021


As a result of Omicron, face masks returned, self-isolation rules got stricter and travel rules changed again. 

Christmas was up in the air again as Omicron continued to gather pace and the booster programme extended to more of the adult population.

READ MORE: Covid: almost 1,700 cases of Omicron in BCP and Dorset

January 2022 

Bournemouth Airport has played an important part in the country's Covid response and in January a Boeing 747 carrying Covid test kits landed at Bournemouth Airport.

Bournemouth Echo: Boeing 747 transporting Covid-19 kits flying over Bournemouth Airport. Picture: Waveslider PhotographyBoeing 747 transporting Covid-19 kits flying over Bournemouth Airport. Picture: Waveslider Photography

March 2022 

As we continue to get used to 'living with Covid' the government's plan has set out key points to remove any legal restrictions while protecting the most vulnerable. 

More than 141 million doses of the Covid vaccine have been administered across the UK with 73 per cent of the population vaccinated.

In Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole nearly 850,000 doses have been administered with 312,242 first doses given.

Over-75s and people with a weakened immune system are also being offered an extra Covid booster this spring.

From April 1, lateral flow tests will no longer be free with most people having to buy them from pharmacist or other retailers

And the NHS Covid pass will no longer be recognised as a "vaccine passport" within the UK.