‘It's just so depressing’ - Norfolk families on changed Christmas plans
- Credit: PA
Coronavirus would barely have featured on the radars of British families last Christmas, but many plans for this year have been upended by the pandemic.
But 2020 has been a year like no other and despite hopes measures would have meant life would be back to near normal by Christmas.
Back in July, Boris Johnson said: "It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November, at the earliest, possibly in time for Christmas."
Now tens of thousands of families have seen their Christmas plans torn up - with new Tier 4 restrictions and harsher curbs on planned meet-ups.
Though Norfolk and Waveney stay in Tier 2, families are facing up to a very different Christmas Day to the one they had planned and hoped for.
Asked how the announcement had affected their plans, Ann Smith told our Facebook group: “I am totally devastated. I have two sons who both live in Tier 2, one is a five hour drive away.
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“How can he drive five hours home, and five hours back in one day?
“When we were told we had five days and that wouldn't be cancelled, I shopped in preparation. My children haven't been home this year. I am actually in tears.”
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Hazel Marks added: “My family are now in Tier 4, so the Christmas reunion is off. I live alone and have gone from excitedly looking forward to it, to feeling down. There won't be another Christmas for a lot of folk, it's just so depressing.
“I live in North Norfolk and wonder how many second homes will have become occupied overnight?”
Mary Taylor said her family was going to visit from abroad but decided it was safer not to. “We were then going to meet with friends from three households,” she added. “We then all decided safer not to. So Christmas for me will be with my husband and animals. I am lucky and will take care.”
Others had already made plans to limit family gatherings and had made alternative arrangements.
Melanie Jones said: “It hasn’t changed our Christmas plans. We had already decided several weeks ago to do a socially distanced outdoor present exchange before Christmas, and stay at home in our separate households over Christmas, as we have all been doing since March.”
Lucy Mayes added: “No change here. We decided it was safer for us all to stay in our own homes and do Zoom calls.
“As none of us want to be the one that possibly passes Covid to our loved ones and especially because the kids have been to school which has had cases.”
Angela Wright said: “I 100pc feel for those who cannot see family, but I have a family with many health complications that make this family deadly so I would rather have a safe Christmas and have my family and all those around me safe.”
Many people face working on Christmas Day so limits for seeing family on other days have a big impact on seeing family and loved ones.
Vicki Humphrey said: “I am working a 12.5 hour shift on Christmas day on an emergency admission unit, leaving my husband and three children at home.
“We were going to celebrate Christmas on Boxing Day with my sister-in-law and husband. Shame those working Christmas Day cant be allowed to have their day either before or after Christmas.”