COVID-19: How Tier 4 has wrecked Christmas plans for families

·3-min read

There are presents stashed under the Knight family's Christmas tree that won't now arrive in time, as it is too late to post them.

They had hoped to deliver them personally, but were shocked to find out their home city of Peterborough was entering England's Tier 4 coronavirus rules, especially as it had only had a day in Tier 3.

Mum Kirsty is most disappointed about not seeing her dad, explaining: "Sadly we lost my mum last year, Christmas Eve, so it's a bad year anyway, and he's going to be spending Christmas on his own."

"I feel upset, I spoke to him last night and he just said 'it is what it is'," she continued.

"I've got my sister who lives in Wales, she can't come. I've got my sister who's working in the COVID ward in hospital, so she's in isolation - then I've got brothers and sisters who live in America, he's on his own".

In the playground outside her house, Kirsty's daughter Sophia says she is most sad about not seeing her cousins and grandpa this year.

A few miles away in the city centre, the view from the top of Peterborough Cathedral stretches for miles around.

The verger points out some fields in the distance that are in Tier 2.

The city is like a Tier 4 island surrounded by areas in lower tiers, but only in this tier are you advised not to leave your home on Christmas Day.

"COVID has caused the cathedral, for the first time in its history, to have to cancel morning prayer and evening prayer during the first lockdown," said verger David Wood.

"It's never happened. It's a statute that we have to have morning and evening prayer within the building, but we weren't allowed to. So really it will go down in history as being one of the most devastating issues that we've had to deal with in the 900 years the cathedral has been here."

The problem here, like in other Tier 4 areas, is that the infection rate has risen significantly.

In the week to 14 December, there were 650 cases - a 46% increase on the week before, and hospital admissions are rising.

In the peaceful grounds around the cathedral, the Fewtrell family is cycling though.

Mum Jackie tells me that she, her husband Andy and daughters Suzanne, Fiona and Katelyn, will be abiding by the new rules and not mixing households this Christmas.

"Katelyn's best friend has had it (COVID), Suzanne's classmate has had it," she said.

"I have work colleagues who had it, or have it now.

"It was just getting too close and we felt like it was irresponsible even if we felt we were healthy and our bubble was healthy, it was just going to be irresponsible to get together with them considering the wider picture of the NHS and our community."

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