How is everyone feeling about Covid again, now that omicron is roaring through the population? We asked a few of our readers how they felt.
Omicron is everywhere, so should we be in lockdown? The country seems very divided on this issue, and whichever way your opinion falls, guidance from our government hasn’t felt clear to many. Christmas is threatened again, and so are businesses, especially those in hospitality. So how are people feeling out there?
The Christmas host
“How do I feel about covid? Argh not again! That’s all I keep thinking since it went pear-shaped. We ordered loads of supplies for a massive family Christmas, and each day I’m just stressed that someone else is going to cancel. We’re already one lot of family down.
“After the last couple of years, we were really planning to go for it this year. I spent a fortune laying in tons of wine and chocolate and cheese and everything else. We ordered all our meat from the local butchers, so I don’t feel we can cancel that, it’s just not fair on a small business. So we have a goose, a ham, a rib of beef, loads of stuff coming. It cost literally hundreds.
I’m just stressed that someone else is going to cancel
“Now I don’t know how many will be here, or even if it’s being responsible to have a big Christmas. We have a few oldies, I’d hate for them to catch it. And I don’t really trust the lateral flow tests. I don’t think they are accurate.
“I don’t really know how I feel. I wonder if this new strain, omicron, is it that serious? Maybe they’re making a mountain of a molehill or something. I’m just so fed up. Coronavirus can do one!”
The independent restaurateur
“I own a small to medium sized restaurant that’s been in my family for two generations and this latest drama is probably going to finish the business. The last couple of years have been dire, but we thought we’d turned a corner. We just started to think we’d be ok if we had a good Christmas. Then wham, headlines and panic all over again. I think the response from Downing Street has been completely over the top.
…this latest drama is probably going to finish the business
“Since the announcements from No10 we have had lots of cancellations – not just Christmas lunches, but evening parties, New Year’s Eve bookings, and also bookings in January, which we were desperate for.
“The worst thing about this time round compared to the others is that there’s been no clarity about the restrictions or whatever. There’s no official lockdown, no offer of financial support from the government – but our restaurant is empty. Like a ghost town out there.
“I feel like we need to learn to live with covid and not panic every time there’s a new mutation. There will be new mutations every year, like flu. The government’s response to the omicron variant was bloody ridiculous – it might be contagious, but it doesn’t seem to be that dangerous. I think it’s all smoke screens and trap doors to divert us from the summer and Christmas parties last year, having cheese and wine, when we couldn’t even go to funerals. Frankly I’m livid about the whole thing.”
The older vulnerable person
“When I watch the news or listen to the radio, it sounds very frightening, this new covid. I was starting to think that life was back to normal but then we hear about the new South Africa variant and everyone seems really worried again.
I feel lonely already, the street outside is quieter again
“I got quite down when we were locked down before. I don’t get out much, but I do like my Bridge club twice a week; and my neighbour pops in quite a lot to see if I’m alright, and we have a cup of tea. When I couldn’t do those things I spent a lot of time at home, all on my own. I don’t want to go back to that.
“I was hoping to see my grandchildren at Christmas, but now one of them has covid and I’m not sure they will come. I don’t want to catch it at my age. I feel lonely already, the street outside is quieter again. Another lockdown feels terrible, but I suppose it’s the right thing to do if people can catch it again. I am afraid of catching it, so I am being very careful. But I really miss my family.”
The small business owner
“I’m absolutely furious about the way this government is handling the latest crisis. Although to be fair, apart from the first time, it feels like they made a mess of most of this, I dunno. At least we got some support originally, even if it took some time to organise. This time, it’s ‘lockdown by stealth’. So they don’t have to help you, but it’s a nightmare again.
I’ve had to lay staff off, and close early
“Once the government were like ‘omicron, let’s panic’, we lost orders, or people put their business on hold until everyone knew what it was going to be like. I understand that, and as a business myself, I went the same route. But it’s f**ked us. I’ve had to lay staff off, and close early. I have no clue if it’s even worth opening up for business again in January. I’m so knackered.
“Because I took dividends from the business, I wasn’t able to furlough myself at all. It made things really, really hard, especially when my wife lost her job. We are seriously looking at whether we would be better off chucking it all in and going on benefits and part-time work, to be honest.
“Maybe I’ll feel differently after some time off over Christmas. I’m so fed up right now.”
If you’re struggling this Christmas…