The Covid-19 pandemic has been ongoing for close to two years now, but a lot has changed from the beginning to where we are at now, especially if you compare last Christmas period in 2020 to this coming Christmas in 2021. Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between winter and Christmas last year in comparison this year to see how far things have come and the key developments that have been made to get here.
After the initial chaos and uncertainty in the early months of the pandemic, everyone was wondering what was going to happen at Christmas. As September and October came by, things looked promising with the government encouraging people to kick start the economy with the introduction of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. However, as winter drew in it became clear that it wasn’t going to be a normal Christmas for anyone.
We were still a few months away from the vaccine programmes, being rolled out to the public and with testing centres constantly busy, the NHS under extreme pressure, and the flu season to contend with as well, the risk was too high. All but the essential shops were closed, and we were locked down throughout the festive period except for mixing with one other household on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Things are looking more promising for people to spend Christmas with their families and have some normality this year. The vaccine programme has been very successful throughout the year, encouraging herd immunity in the population and booster jabs are starting to become available ahead of deep winter. There have also been big advancements in testing with PCR tests no longer being essential and for situations like travelling, a lateral flow test is acceptable, meaning it is easier for people to travel and see their families during the holidays.
Also, people can do their Christmas shopping in person as all shops are open, not just essential supermarkets and food shops. Face masks are now optional, but if there is a spike in cases over the winter months, there could be the possibility that the government decides to re-introduce face masks on a compulsory basis, but that would be a small price to pay to have more of a normal Christmas seeing family and enjoying the festivities.
As we head into 2022 lets hope to see further drops in coronavirus cases and more steps being made to help the country recover from the devastating pandemic so we can have a covid-free Christmas next year.