Lockdown 2020 and the activities and events that gripped a nation


It’s been just over two years since Boris Johnson plunged England into lockdown, with other countries following suit. It was a national crisis that the post-war generation had never experienced.

The pandemic meant that for more than 18 months, people’s lives would not be the same; revelers had to order food before they could get an alcoholic drink in pubs and Christmas parties were held virtually – it’s fair to say that many people were happy to see the back of the restrictions in July 2021.

However, for many, the first confinement was pleasant. This formed a relaxing retreat – a time when people could spend time learning to do things they never imagined. From cooking to cycling to online fitness classes, the months since March 23, 2020 have been unique.

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For others, it has led to widespread disruption of working life and households with the closure of schools, nurseries and other establishments, forcing many people to work from home. The furlough went into effect and many people lost their jobs because of it. But there were a few activities that gripped the nation — trends that would plague social media and act as a short, rare treat on long days.

toilet paper roll challenge

The early days of lockdown in 2020 saw a challenge emerge that involved making ‘uppie keepers’ out of a roll of toilet paper. Social media users were filming themselves trying to break their own personal record before posting it online.

The trend has been tried by Premier League stars and England internationals, with Harry Kane and James Maddison both having tried. It was also vaguely similar to the golf challenge, in which people attempted to throw a ball into a bowl the size of a flowerpot from a distance.

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Applause for caregivers

One of the highlights of the week of confinement for many would be the rare occasion when they would have the chance to bump into other neighbours. At 8 p.m. every Thursday, families and couples would come knocking on their doors and clap for a minute, while perhaps chatting with other people from a distance of 2 meters, of course. It really summed up spring 2021 perfectly, this brief outing to say hello to your neighbors would be the highlight of the week for many people.



Many of us cheered on caregivers every Thursday during the coronavirus crisis

5k challenge

Controversial, but the 5k challenge has become a hot topic. As one person ran, documented, and posted their time online, they also nominated a friend to run themselves.

However, some times have become quite the talking point, with debate raging over whether these recent times accurately reflect how long it took someone to cover the full distance. Apps such as Strava were incredibly popular during this time – and while popular before the lockdown, the nation’s increased activity could only have made it more prominent in the fitness industry.

Supermarket queues and one-way systems

There was a time when store numbers and one-way systems were strictly observed. Naturally too, with a world before vaccines, everyone was vulnerable. Face masks, cart sanitizer and even gloves have been used by many – with a handful of people still using some to this day to ensure they are safer.
Not only were certain foods rationed, but a certain direction of flow was needed to ensure that transmission was kept to a minimum.

Workouts with Joe Wicks



Joe Wicks
Joe Wicks

Personal trainer turned social media celebrity Joe Wicks captivated much of the nation with his online fitness classes during the first lockdown. In its first online physical education lesson, more than 900,000 families connected around the world. On day two, more than 955,000 families participated together and broke the world record for the largest streaming workout on YouTube.

Since then, Wicks has run more than 70 workout classes which have garnered over 70 million views, with all money generated from YouTube ads going to NHS Charities Together. Combined with sales of PE With Joe t-shirts, it has helped raise over £500,000 for the charity.

Tik Tok trends

Now, Tik Tok’s growth has been pretty phenomenal – and in lockdown, it’s provided a platform for all sorts of silly antics. Dancing, singing and cooking. Some trends came and went, but if there was one thing that stuck, it was the app itself (and the fact that a new dance was coming every other day). From a rendition of Blinding Lights by the Weeknd to Say So by Dojo Cat, Tik Tok had it all.


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