Due to essential maintenance some of our online services will be unavailable on Thursday 18 April from 5pm to 7pm.

South Gloucestershire remembers how our lives were changed by the pandemic

In early 2020, Covid-19 emerged as a global pandemic.

For the following two years, we were part of a national journey, but we also experienced our own unique moments in South Gloucestershire, including two rounds of surge testing with a fantastic response from the community, and an incredible uptake of the vaccine.

In the timeline below, we have captured how those two years unfolded and how our lives were impacted by the virus.

A version of our timeline is available to download as a pdf.

If you would like to share you memories and experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, you can add them to our online book of memories.


29 January First confirmed case in the UK

A hand on a door handle

3 February

Dedicated Covid pages launched on southglos.gov.uk

Screen shot of covid video

12 March

First confirmed case in South Gloucestershire. First video update from our Director of Public Health

18 March

Libraries, community centres and Grimsbury Farm close. Refuse collections are reduced

23 March First national lockdown. People ordered to stay at home. Schools close. People told to work from home

24 March

We issue the first South Gloucestershire Council Covid-19 weekly newsletter.

28 May Launch of NHS Test and Trace

June Phased return to school begins, with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 classes the first to go back to classroom teaching and 2-metre social distancing rule announced

a social distancing sign stencilled on a pavement


Roll out of measures to encourage social distancing around South Gloucestershire schools, shops and businesses. They include pavement stencils and dedicated space for cycling and walking

3 July Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen, with ‘Eat out to Help out’ discount scheme launched a month later

14 September ‘Rule of 6’ introduced – only 6 people allowed to meet indoors and outdoors

22 September Return to working from home and 10pm curfew imposed on hospitality sector

Covid flyer 'Helping keep South Glos safe'

1 October

Launch of I’m helping to Keep South Gloucestershire Safe campaign

First PCR (symptomatic) test site opens in South Gloucestershire at University of the West of England

14 October 3-tier system announced with different levels of restrictions in local authority areas depending on transmission rates and hospitalisation data

14 October

South Gloucestershire deemed tier 1 meaning up to 6 people can meet indoors or outdoors, pubs and restaurants can open but must close at 10pm

5 November Second national lockdown begins, a 4-week national ‘circuit breaker’. Stay home, avoid travel, pubs and non-essential shops close except for takeaway and collection. Schools remain open


Launch of Real Impact campaign – interviews with South Gloucestershire people affected by Covid

2 December End of national restrictions and return to tier system

2 December

South Gloucestershire goes into tier 3 – no mixing indoors, up to 6 people can meet outdoors. Pubs and restaurants remain closed

8 December First dose of vaccine administered, Margaret Keenan, 90, becomes the first person in the world to receive a fully approved dose of the Covid vaccine

8 December

First vaccination in South Gloucestershire – Jack Vokes, 98, from Alveston

Elderly couple on bench on street

17 December

Tier review, South Gloucestershire stays in tier 3

19 December Christmas rules are tightened from planned 5-day lifting of restrictions to people only allowed to spend Christmas Day together


6 January Third national lockdown, schools close and people must stay at home

7 February

Surge testing begins in 24 postcode districts across South Gloucestershire and Bristol after a new variant is found. 40,000 tests carried out in 2 weeks

28 February

Further surge testing in Bradley Stoke, Patchway and Little Stoke after a variant first identified in Brazil is discovered

8 March Schools reopen. People allowed to exercise with one other person outdoors

29 March Step 1 of newly created Roadmap out of Covid: Rule of 6, or 2 households can meet outdoors including in private gardens


Launch of our We’re on the Right Track campaign

12 April Step 2 of Roadmap: Non-essential shops re-open, outdoor hospitality only, no indoor mixing continues

15 May

Testing vans launch in South Gloucestershire

17 May Step 3 of Roadmap: Rule of 6 indoors, up to 30 people outdoors. Indoor venues reopen including pubs and restaurants

21 June Step 4 of Roadmap: delayed


Launch of our Keep Yourself and Others Safe campaign

19 July Social contact rules end and remaining venues such as nightclubs and theatres reopen

14 September Plan A of the Autumn and Winter Plan announced with guidance only rather than law

8 December Plan B introduced in response to Omicron. Over the next week, face coverings become mandatory in most venues


17 January Self-isolation can end after negative tests on day 5 and 6

27 January Return to Plan A

24 February Self-isolation no longer legal requirement

stone statue in a park

15 March

Our testing vans stop operations

30 March

Remaining testing sites in South Gloucestershire close

time capsule being buried

31 March

We bury a time capsule is buried at the council offices holding donated photos, drawings, letters and other items representing people’s memories of the pandemic.

We set up an online book of memories for South Gloucestershire residents

1 April Free testing ends for most people

Beta This is our beta website