Today marks the third anniversary of the first UK Covid lockdown with a National Day of Reflection.

On Monday, March 23, 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the country in the first of many announcements to follow implementing restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.

In this statement, he announced that people would only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  •  Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  •  One form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
  •  Medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  •  Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

In addition, he announced that ministers would have the power to close shops selling non-essential items, stop gatherings of more than two people, and stopping social events including weddings, but excluding funerals.

The main message of his announcement was a phrase that everyone would become very familiar with: “Stay at home, protect our NHS and saves lives.”

Here we look back at the day we went into lockdown and reflect on some of the stories the Leader covered that day...

  • All Freedom Leisure operated facilities in Wrexham announced their closure. 

In a statement, a spokesman for Freedom Leisure, who run Waterworld, Gwyn Evans, Queensway and Chirk, said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform our loyal and supportive customers that your leisure centre will now be closed for the foreseeable future.”

  • The Tree Tops Caravan Park in Holywell announced it would close from 4pm March 23.

A spokesperson for Treetops said: "Our family is devastated at having to take this decision, we are in uncharted territory, we must follow Government advice in this time of national crisis."

  • Wedding venues across North Wales were forced to postpone or cancel upcoming events.

The Iscoyd Park, which is located near Whitchurch, took to social media on March 20, 2020 to inform the public of the sudden change to its services, which would involve all pre-existing booked weddings being rescheduled at no additional cost.

This day also marked the start of the ‘looking out for each other’ campaign launched by First Minister Mark Drakeford to help people who were staying at home because of coronavirus.

The "Looking Out for Each Other" campaign focused on the small things members of the public could do to help each other during the pandemic.

It provided practical guidance about how everyday tasks, like running errands or simply staying in touch, can be done safely, without physical contact to minimise the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Members of the local community stepped up throughout the pandemic to lend a hand to those who were vulnerable.

The Mold Bookshop, which is located on the High Street, offered free books to children during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Leader: Caroline Johnson Mold BookshopCaroline Johnson Mold Bookshop (Image: The Leader - Newsquest)

Owner Caroline Johnson posted: "Thank you to everyone for their support for us and other local businesses.

"However, I recognise that with many families out of work due to the virus or on low incomes there is no spare money for books for the children to read during the school closures."

March 23, 2020 also marked the start of the online sensation that swept UK homes; PE with Joe Wicks.

Joe Wicks’ attempt to keep the nation’s children fit during the coronavirus crisis got off to flying start with Joe's first session getting around 800,000 streams.

It was announced on this day that all NHS staff in Wales were able to travel free on Transport for Wales rail services.

This day also marked the end of foreign travel and holidays for many across the country for a signficant period. 

British travellers were advised to return to the UK as soon as possible in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.

Fast forward to March 2023 and the latest figures from the UK coronavirus dashboard show a total of 2,209 people have died in the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board region by February 17.

They were among 11,456 deaths recorded across Wales since the start of the pandemic.

The weekly figures now include anyone whose death certificate – registered up to 14 days before March 3 (Friday) – mentions Covid-19 as one of the causes.

Wrexham Council have announced they will be commemorating the national day of reflection by lighting up the Guildhall at Llwyn Isaf.