The signs had been building for weeks – ever since York recorded the first official coronavirus case at the end of January.
But when lockdown finally came, it was a shock, even in a city that has endured more than its fair share of drama in a near-2,000 year history.
In the days and hours before Boris Johnson’s historic ‘stay at home’ announcement, the city had been quickly shutting down.
Here’s a timeline of York going into lockdown.
13 March 2020
One of the first events to be cancelled was the York Irish Festival.
York RSPCA moved to an appointments-only system.
The crematorium introduced deep cleans and more hand sanitisers.
15 March 2020
York’s own Dame Judi Dench released a hand-washing video with Giles Brandreth.
16 March 2020
York GP surgeries at the Priory Medical Group switched to phone consultations.
Sport came to a halt as both York City and York City Knights’ seasons were suspended.
The Grand Opera House cancelled all shows with immediate effect.
17 March 2020
Shows were cancelled at York Theatre Royal too – but the cafe stayed open.
York Minster closed its doors, with Minster police turning away tourists and worshippers.
Visitor restrictions were introduced at York Hospital.
18 March 2020
Spark:York has reinvented itself as a collection and delivery service – Spark:Go.
It was announced that schools would close at the end of the week.
20 March 2020
Boris Johnson announced that cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants must close from that night.
21 March 2020
23 March 2020
Just as the tourism season was beginning, visitors were told to stay away: “We welcome 8.2m visitors a year in York, and we know people across the UK had plans to visit us in the coming weeks,” said Cllr Darryl Smalley.
“For our local healthcare system and the wellbeing of our residents, please put your trip to York on hold.”
Finally, the news we’d been expecting for a while. Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation to tell us all to stay home as the first coronavirus loockdown came into force.