A MONTH or so ago, if you'd suggested that Helensburgh and Lomond – and the rest of the country – would be under virtual house arrest, only allowed to leave home for a few very specific reasons, with gatherings of more than two people banned and with new laws brought in to ensure the UK's 66 million residents obey the rules, you'd have been looked as as if you were an alien just landed from another planet.

But at the end of a remarkable week, people in Helensburgh and across Britain are preparing for 'lockdown' conditions which will be in place for at least another fortnight – and possibly a good deal longer than that – in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Here we look back at how the story has developed over the last week-and-a-bit from a Helensburgh perspective...

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Friday, March 20

Helensburgh Advertiser:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructs all the country's pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants, along with theatres, cinemas, leisure centres and gyms, to close in an attempt to get the pandemic under control – and tells people to observe 'social distancing' guidelines by keeping two metres apart.

Many of the Helensburgh businesses affected post emotional messages on social media saying 'goodbye – for now' – though several pledge to keep going by offering home delivery or takeaway services.

READ MORE: 'Goodbye for now, people' – Helensburgh businesses close their doors with messages of hope

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Saturday, March 21

Reports come in from around the country of large groups of people gathering in popular visitor hotspots – including Luss, Balloch, Largs and Inveraray – in defiance of the Prime Minister's 'social distancing' pleas.

Some businesses, in Helensburgh and elsewhere, take the decision to close voluntarily because of public health concerns as the sunny weather tempts people to the great outdoors.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

Ailsa Adams, manager of the Costa Coffee shop in Helensburgh, was one of those, saying: "I feel I must protect my team and because I love this community and I want to do right by everyone."

READ MORE: 'I had to close to protect the public', says Helensburgh's Costa Coffee manager

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Sunday, March 22

The chief executive of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority tells people "do not visit us" following the previous day's large gatherings at many locations around the park.

Shops and cafes were reported to have been "overwhelmed" by visitors.

Gordon Watson says: “The risks of spreading the virus in the countryside are the same as in cities and towns. In addition, local food supplies and health services needed for residents cannot cope with these extra pressures.

"This weekend has shown that people are not following guidance and putting themselves and others at risk."

READ MORE: 'Do not visit National Park' – Loch Lomond authority's pandemic plea

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Monday, March 23

Helensburgh Advertiser:

The Prime Minister addresses the nation on TV, instructing people not to leave their homes unless for a few very specific reasons, instructing shops selling all but essential items to close, and banning gatherings of more than two people (other than those in the same household).

Before Boris Johnson's address, more Helensburgh businesses had voluntarily taken the decision to close, including The Wee Kelpie in West Clyde Street, whose owners, Kerr and Nicola Raeburn, say the responsibility of running such a busy shop has proved "overwhelming".

Elsewhere, Helensburgh and Lomond's MSP, Jackie Baillie, urges the Scottish Government to classify retail staff as 'key workers' during the pandemic, while the Highland Games events in Helensburgh, Luss and Rosneath in June and July are all cancelled.

READ MORE: Monday's coronavirus headlines from Helensburgh and Lomond and beyond

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Tuesday, March 24

Day one under lockdown. More businesses in Helensburgh and the surrounding area say "farewell – for now" to their customers in line with the government's guidance, while Argyll and Bute Council publishes information for local businesses about rates relief, government grants and loans, sick pay and help for the self-employed during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, elderly and vulnerable Rhu and Shandon residents are being offered help during the lockdown thanks to local Facebook group Rhu Bay, while the James Street Community Garden and the children's play area at Hermitage Park are closed to the public on health grounds.

At the end of the day Argyll and Bute Council announces that it's suspending recycling collections from Helensburgh and Lomond, and across the council area, to concentrate on uplifts of household waste going to landfill – a move partly caused by growing numbers of council staff self-isolating and unable to work from home.

All civic amenity sites across the area, including the Blackhill facility in Helensburgh, are also closed.

READ MORE: All the coronavirus headlines from Helensburgh and beyond as they happened on Tuesday

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Wednesday, March 25

Waitrose announces that it's bringing in a limit of no more than 32 customers in its Helensburgh supermarket at a time to try and control the spread of the virus and to protect the store's staff.

The Kilcreggan-Gourock ferry timetable is reduced to three return sailings per day, Monday to Friday, while local bus operator Wilson's of Rhu announces cuts to the operating hours of its number 315 bus service, and Argyll and Bute Council closes all of its public toilets and ceases all non-emergency roadworks, as part of a series of cuts to roads and amenity services operations.

The authority also says that no more than eight people will be allowed to attend funerals, burials and cremations in the area until further notice.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

On a cheerier note, rainbows spring up in windows across Helensburgh and Lomond as part of a nationwide game of 'I-Spy', giving children things to look out for in windows while they're out for their daily exercise.

READ MORE: The latest coronavirus news as it happened across Helensburgh and Lomond on Wednesday

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Thursday, March 26

The Advertiser's front page reports that Waitrose has turned down requests from customers, business chiefs and politicians around Helensburgh and Lomond to delay the closure of its supermarket in the town.

The company had been asked to postpone the May 3 closure date to ensure continuity of essential supplies to the town during the pandemic lockdown.

Elsewhere, the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank makes an urgent plea for donations of particular food items – but also for reuseable egg boxes and for clean, unused plastic bags.

The last are required because of new government guidance stating that the food bank should not use reuseable hessian bags – another measure to try and slow the spread of the virus.

READ MORE: Disappointment and anger as Waitrose says 'no' to pleas to delay Helensburgh store closure

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Friday, March 27

Helensburgh Advertiser:

The big news today is that the Morrisons supermarket chain confirms it has bought the site of the Waitrose store in Helensburgh.

But the company is keeping its plans close to its chest – despite a plea from Jackie Baillie MSP for the company to reopen the doors "as soon as possible" after Waitrose's closure.

READ MORE: It's official – Morrisons confirms purchase of Waitrose's Helensburgh supermarket

The Friends of Duchess Wood ask Helensburgh's dog owners to take their pets' waste home with them as dog waste bins are not being emptied due to cutbacks in the council's amenity services department.

Elsewhere, in a wee break from the bad news of the coronavirus pandemic, the Hill House in Helensburgh is announced as the home of Britain's best visitor attraction souvenir shop.

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READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines here