Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday September 12, 2020
How will Covid-19 affect Christmas 2020?
Premier Doug Ford says that the thought of children heading out trick or treating next month amid a global pandemic makes him “nervous” but he is cautioning residents that a lot can still change between now and Halloween.
Speaking with reporters during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Ford said that it is too early to make a decision about what will be done about Halloween in Ontario but he conceded that the idea of trick or treating does worry him.
“Let’s play it by ear and see what happens over the next month-and-a-half but it makes me nervous, kids going door-to-door with this. I would prefer not to,” he said. (CTV)
Meanwhile, with the coronavirus pandemic having already led to so many of 2020’s planned events and celebrations being shelved, there’s now concern that it could also ruin Christmas, amid fresh restrictions being imposed on gatherings in England.
New rules banning gatherings of more than six people are set to come into force from September 14, with Chris Whitty warning that the rules won’t be changing in the next few weeks – which could potentially impact those festive family get-togethers and parties.
Although Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he ‘hopes’ they can turn things around before Christmas, Dr Hilary Jones has warned that this year’s festive season will ‘not happen unless we change what we are doing’.
So could Christmas really be cancelled courtesy of Covid this year – and just how much of an impact will the virus have on the festivities?
Like most of the other festivals which have taken place in the shadow of the pandemic – including Ramadan, Eid and Passover – Christmas will of course happen on December 25 this year as usual.
And while Covid might not stop you from putting up your tree, tucking into your turkey dinner, watching those festive movies or listening to Merry Christmas Everybody on a never-ending loop, there are other aspects of the festive season which will almost certainly feel the impact.
Here’s what a Covid-19 Christmas might look like this year.
Festive celebrations in December are as big a part of Christmas as the big day itself – but these are likely to be under threat this year unless the rules on gatherings of more than six people are lifted before the festive season rolls around.
Have pantomimes been cancelled? Oh yes they have. Theatres across the UK have shelved plans for their usual festive pantos this year.
What about a trip to Santa’s grotto? Well that might be off the cards too – Harrods have said on their website, for example, that their traditional grotto won’t be happening this year (but that they will be announcing Covid-safe festive plans very soon)
That doesn’t mean grottos are off the cards completely – even if your little ones have to keep their distance and Santa has to don a face mask.
Dr Atkinson explained: ‘Santa’s Grotto will be a socially distanced affair. So sitting on Santa’s lap isn’t likely, because it is likely to put children, but moreover Santa, at increased risk of transmission.
The day itself dawns, and you’re normally looking forward to a big family gathering with everybody round the table for lunch before curling up in front of festive telly. But with gatherings restricted to six people – and the possibility that could extend beyond Christmas – could that trip to see the folks be out this year?
2021 may seem like a long way off still, but no sooner is Christmas done and dusted than New Year celebrations come along – but we can expect them to be a bit more muted than usual this year. (Metro UK)