With the average number of Covid hospitalisations and deaths rising again throughout July, some have argued that dropping all legal restrictions on July 19 was premature, while others have said the time was right.

Our reporter Noah Vickers asked people in Dereham what they thought.

%image(15581881, type="article-full", alt="Kate Boxall said she disapproved of the government's "all or nothing" approach to the restrictions.")

Kate Boxall, 46, a company director who lives in West Sussex, said: “I think the all or nothing approach seems to be a bit too much - I think maybe it should have been a little bit more staggered.

“If there is another lockdown, it will be because the government is pressured into it by other governments. Financially, I think it would cripple the country, so I think they will probably do anything other than a lockdown.”

%image(15581891, type="article-full", alt="Nick King said restrictions should have been lifted months sooner than they were.")

Nick King, 61, who lives in Dereham said: “The restrictions were getting on my nerves. It should have been months earlier.”

He added: “We’ve had months of not doing anything and not going anywhere.”

%image(15581909, type="article-full", alt="Joan Morgan worked as a nurse for 39 years, and saw the impact of polio.")

Joan Morgan, 85, who is retired and lives in Mattishall, said: “My difficulty is that I’m now trying to get the courage to go out without a face covering - though I’ve got one with me.

Asked about July 19, she said: “I think they had to start some time. I feel sorry for all the people trying to make judgements because I don’t think anybody can win.

“I was nursing for 39 years, and I’ve been through polio and everything.”

%image(15581921, type="article-full", alt="Richard Meredith said he thought July 19 was the right date to ease restrictions, and that the economy could not take another lockdown.")

Richard Meredith, 74, who is retired and lives in Dereham said he thought July 19 was the right time.

“We are going to have to live with it, but people should still take care.”

Asked whether he predicted another lockdown, he said: “No, I don’t think so, the economy can’t take another lockdown.

“And with mental health - it’s starting to affect kids because they haven’t been able to go to school, so I don’t think there’ll be another one.”

%image(15581924, type="article-full", alt="Roy Stearman said the government should have waited until more people had been given both vaccine jabs, before dropping all restrictions.")

Roy Stearman, 84, who is also retired and lives in the town, said he thought restrictions had been lifted too soon.

“There are so many people getting the virus,” he said.

“We should have waited for more people to have two jabs.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if by the winter there was another lockdown,” he added.

%image(15581927, type="article-full", alt="Pauline King said "we've got to try" living without restrictions.")

Pauline King, 82, who is retired and also lives in the town: “We’ve got to try it [living without restrictions].”

Asked whether she thought there would be another lockdown, she said: “Hopefully no, if people are sensible. If we just use facemasks - I use them when I go in shops and on the buses - and that is all we need to do.”