Christmas shoppers hitting the High Street in Lincoln with three more sleeps to go are urging people to be safe this festive period — but some don’t believe an after-Christmas lockdown will work.
On Tuesday night Boris Johnson announced there would be no more restrictions before Christmas, but there are worries more will come in after.
The government is pushing for as many people to get boosted before Santa arrives, and in Lincoln that means a temporary walk-in centre at the Engine Shed. The City Council even got their town crier out and about to push the message.
As Karen Cross’ voice echoed from the Stonebow today, we spoke to shoppers to get their thoughts on the current COVID situation.
“It’s relaxed beyond belief here”
Mark Taylor has just returned from Singapore, where restrictions are a lot tougher, to spend time with family. He got his vaccine while working in South Korea earlier this year.
“You come here and it’s relaxed beyond belief,” he said. “It’s almost like there’s nothing wrong.”
He admitted that if he had not needed it for travel, he would probably not have got the jab himself, however, acknowledged: “Maybe its because I’ve not seen anyone close to me actually severely ill with it. That has a massive bearing I think on a lot of people.”
He believed the Prime Minister’s decision not to impose further restrictions was “purely political”.
“We just had a week up in Scotland and they’re actually starting to tighten down already… I find it strange that Scotland and Wales have taken a slightly harder approach than the UK, and in my view its purely political.
“Boris turned around and said we’re going to be open for Christmas and he’s having to stick to his guns because he’s under a lot of pressure.
“But I believe that once Christmas is over, then he will relook at things and and restrictions will start again.”
“It’s really hard to have another Christmas without family”
Kirsty and Steve Hayes said people need to make the right choices themselves over the festive period to ensure they and their family are safe.
“As long as people are sensible, that’s what needs to happen — as long as we’re testing regularly, and everyone’s boosted vaccinated.
“Our family lives away […] in France and in Wales, so it’s really, really hard to do it a second year without seeing them.”
She said their family were all vaccinated and lateral flow tested regularly.
“The people that don’t are often ignorant or don’t understand it. Vaccinations are a brilliant thing, it’s what makes our country wonderful.”
However, she said Prime Minister Boris Johnson “needs to go”.
“He’s an awful Prime Minister,” she said, adding: “get rid of him in the New Year and let’s hope we have a new one.”
She said he had “never made the right decision” and said: “We’re all on our own, we’ve all got to make the most responsible choices personally because we have no leadership. He’s not a leader at all in any way.”
Steve said there appeared to have been “very little planning” from day one.
“It’s all reactive, measures put into place afterwards rather than before,” he said.
Announcements were made in the news, he said, that were not reflected in the background.
“I’m a teacher, he’s a scientist, so we’ve had to deal with the fallout of the lack of planning,” said Kirsty.
“The absolute inability to do anything was right for the for the people who need it in this country is just ridiculous.”
Government Christmas parties mean people “just won’t listen”
Ash Delaney said: “I think that everything that’s going on with the government and stuff is gonna make people want to just absolutely send it over Christmas.
“Despite this variant being more transmissible, people just won’t listen, they’re gonna have a normal Christmas, then inevitably, when they lockdown a couple of days after, which we all know is coming, there’ll be large pockets of people that will still send it in New Years.”
Katherine Straw added that people were “so fed up now” after nearly two years of coronavirus and lockdowns.
“After last Christmas, it was sort of promised once we got the vaccinations in, we’d be ready by summer.
“Obviously nobody knew what was going to go on, but now that they feel like everything’s going to be cancelled again, they’re just fed up and they’ll just their own thing with with anybody that’s willing to join them at Christmas or New Year’s.”
She said this was especially true for those who had been vaccinated or boosted.
Her family have had the vaccine and have suffered from COVID previously, but she said it “feels like overkill now”.
They both said that the PM knew “nobody would listen” if he shut down for Christmas due to the stories around parties and meetings in the national media.
“They’ll just go ‘well you did what you wanted last year, we’re going to do what we want this year’,” said Katherine.
“There’s going to be so many people that won’t listen because of all this stuff that’s been leaked,” added Ash.
“Sometimes Boris leaves things too late”
Amy Wells said the Prime Minister had a habit of leaving things too late, but felt there should have been a lockdown before Christmas.
“Sometimes Boris Johnson leaves it too late. I can understand especially with what’s coming out with them having parties and now this meeting.
“There should have been a lockdown before Christmas, but it’s hard to say because they’re waiting for information, aren’t they?
“They said they’re looking at it, I believe, hour by hour so you’re just trusting that they are going to tell us if the situation could get worse and we need to go into lockdown.”
She later acknowledged, however, that people might not listen.
“A couple of people have said that had he brought it in before Christmas they were going to go ahead anyway, so it’s down to personal choice. I think if w’ere told to do something for the sake of everybody, we should adhere to it.”
Amy said people should get the vaccine unless there was a medical condition or other valid reason.
“Those people who refuse it, and then get COVID, they are then expecting to be treated in hospital and putting our NHS nurses and doctors at risk, all because they won’t take the vaccination – that’s wrong.”
She said people had been sensible on the whole in the high street and during a visit to Sheffield earlier this week, wearing face coverings etc, but she had worries for those in the hospitality industry.
“People are trying to behave as they should be”
David Sugden said the city centre was “not as busy as I thought it was going to be,” but added people seemed to be taking precautions.
“People are trying to behave as they should be,” he said.
He already had both initial injections and his booster, and urged people to keep doing complying with the main messages of minimising contact, cleaning their hands and using sanitisers and wearing face coverings.
He expressed sympathy with the hospitality industry experiencing reduced footfall, but said the Prime Minister faced a tough choice.
“It’s a difficult situation where he can’t actually win, but I think it’s clear that people should have common sense and try to avoid contact where necessary,” he said.
“We’ve all got to do our bit, if we’ve got this new variant going around the country, we’ve got to protect the children in terms of their education and do what is required.”