IT has been exactly three years since former Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation and announced that the UK would enter its first mandatory Covid-19 lockdown.

Today, this historic moment is marked by a national day of reflection and in keeping with this theme, the News & Star reflects on the first day of lockdown in Cumbria. 

On Monday, March 23, a  News & Star live blog kept us all up to date on the latest local developments as the country and county headed toward lockdown. 

Local councils were featured as readers looked for guidance while the pandemic worsened and businesses made the difficult announcements that they would close. 

In addition, on the day that Cumbria closed, PPE appeals and local support groups, such as Plumbland and Surrounding Areas, were launched as the community prepared to band together to help those in need.

News and Star: Cumbria closed three years ago today Cumbria closed three years ago today (Image: Newsquest)

The Cumbrian high street was also greatly affected by the first national lockdown, with small local businesses being forced to close their doors. 

Surveys conducted by Cumbria’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group in April and May 2020 found that companies were becoming less confident about survival as the restrictions continued and after the first lockdown. 

Sports clubs in Cumbria also felt the impact of the first lockdown. On Tuesday, March 24 2020, Workington AFC put out a heartfelt plea to the community to help them raise £20,000 after their season was postponed.

On the same day, Carlisle United announced that Brunton Park and its club shop would close in line with the new regulations. 

Four days after the announcement of the lockdown, people all over the county took to the streets to 'clap for carers' for the first time.

Cumbria united to applaud the sacrifice and effort of the key workers and staff who worked day and night to keep the county and the country safe.

Reflecting on the initial lockdown, Cumbria's director of public health Colin Cox said that we had ‘little idea’ about what to expect from the virus.

He said: "When we first went into lockdown three years ago, we had very little idea about what to expect in terms of the spread and impact of Covid-19.

"We knew it would be bad, but the estimates of how many people would be infected, and how many people might die, varied widely.

"I’m glad to say that for the most part, the reality proved to be closest to our ‘best case’ scenario – as bad as it was, it could have been very much worse."

Mr Cox also praised the 'phenomenal success' of the coronavirus vaccination programme.

He said: "Three years on, Covid-19 is still with us - but of course with the phenomenal success of the vaccination programme and the availability of good treatments it’s very much less dangerous these days and we’re mostly able to live life as normal.

"However the long-term impacts, including things like long Covid, are still being seen now and it will continue to take a long time for all of these to be resolved."