covid christmas

A Swinton resident is foregoing Christmas with his family due to concerns over Covid-19, saying ‘the finishing line is in sight’.

Paul Sherlock, 73, says that until he can get the vaccine, the risk that comes alongside mixing with other households is not worth it.

After retiring from the NHS, Mr Sherlock had been enjoying a life of socialising with local history groups, volunteering at AgeUK and getting out and about on public transport, which he is a big advocate of (and hasn’t run a car since 1976)!

Paul and Pixie

However, even before the initial lockdown in March, Mr Sherlock and his wife Marilyn, alongside their dogs Poppy, Pixie and Dixie, chose to stay safe and keep indoors as much as they could, when news of the pandemic began to accelerate.

Nearly 10 months down the line, the pair are still staying put as much as possible and are choosing to stick to their new way of life, even over the upcoming festive period, but look forward to the vaccine bringing them some normality again next year.

Mr Sherlock said: “Now we’re getting closer to the availability of the vaccine, I might as well stick with it. It feels like we’ve got the finishing line in sight now, we might as well all carry on.”

He manages to get grocery shopping delivered but has ventured out once or twice into a retail shop during quieter hours and enjoys walking to other local areas to keep him fit and active, even all the way into Manchester and back.

He added: “It’s like I’m collecting boroughs! I just go when I can and I’m quite happy to just toddle off on my own.”

He manages to see his two sons and their families if they pop over, but only by chatting over the wall outside.

Paul’s snap from a recent venture into Manchester by foot

Plans for Christmas are looking different this year. He explained: “We’ll see family over Zoom on Christmas Day. There are plenty of ways of communicating.

“Just because the government says that we are allowed to form social bubbles around Christmas doesn’t mean that you have to.

“My logic is that the virus is still here and catchable, so let’s do what’s logical and sensible when in a few months it will be safe to do things normally again.

“Christmas is all about giving and kindness but we should be doing that all year round. If I can’t see people on the day then I’ll see them another day. Family is family no matter what time of year it is.”

Looking forward to the vaccine, he said: “I’ll have it as soon as I get a chance. As soon as it’s available for me I will go for it.

“And I’m certainly not worried about being microchipped… or any other conspiracy like that!

“I’ll probably still wear a mask and social distance for a while afterwards, but I’ll be able to walk around more shops and even use the bus. I could do all these things now, but it’s my personal decision not to.”

Reflecting on the past year, he thinks that some of the lessons we have learnt throughout the pandemic might stick around, like using Zoom for some meetings to avoid unnecessary journeys and using social distancing to avoid catching other infections like coughs and colds.

He is however looking forward to socialising a bit more again: “I’m looking forward to sitting in Critchley Community Hub, having a cuppa and meeting up with people.”

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