Somerset woman has only left home four times since Covid pandemic began

A woman who has only left her home four times since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic says the lifting of all restrictions in England means she will have to continue her self-enforced lockdown.

Sheila Smith has been shielding since the start of the pandemic because a lung condition makes her vulnerable to the virus.

All of England's coronavirus laws were due to expire on March 24, however prime minister Boris Johnson announced two weeks ago "encouraging" data meant he was going to bring forward the date by a whole month.

Sheila said her life has been completely put on hold.

She said: "You forget what day it is, what week it is, what month it is. It just rolls into one blur because you're not actually doing anything differently. There is only so much cleaning you can do."

Sheila Smith has only left her home four times since the pandemic started Credit: ITV News West Country

With the very few Covid-19 laws remaining in England being relaxed, including self-isolation, the country returns to the same levels of freedom people had before the pandemic for the first time since the first lockdown began in March 2020.

Sheila, however, says she wishes the easing had been done more slowly.

"I think they should have staggered it rather than whipped the carpet from underneath us all," she said.

Sheila lives in Chard near the Somerset and Devon border. Like all towns, cities and villages, it was incredibly quiet during the first lockdown in 2020 and today is very much full of life.

People in the town had differing views about the restrictions coming to an end.

Estate agents Matthew Edmunds and Michelle Wallbridge from Savill Andrews in the town told ITV News how they feel.

Matthew said: "Things do need to go back to some sort of the new normality, but it's just following that that path of whatever that could be at the moment."

Michelle said: "It's a natural progression that we need to learn to live with it. I think that we should still respect other people who are struggling and are isolating still, but we've got to find a way to move forward."

Hair and beauty salon owner Becky Fricker says she will continue to ask customers and colleagues to wear masks Credit: ITV News West Country

With one the restriction of Covid-sufferers legally needing to self-isolate being lifted, businesses which come into close contact with customers are hoping people use common sense.

Becky Fricker runs Pure Hair & Beauty in Chard.

"If they feel unwell or potentially that they do have Covid, it would be an idea that they didn't visit the salon just because we don't want to put the staff and the other clients at risk," she said.

"We're going to still continue to use face masks in the salon just for the time being."