Should we bring the festive holiday forward by two weeks – or even delay Christmas? York MP calls for urgent discussions

York at Christmas. Photograph: Charlotte Graham
25 Oct 2020 @ 4.51 pm
| News

A York MP is calling for the government to consider radical possibilities in order that we can ‘hug our granny’ this Christmas.

With just 61 days till 25 December, Rachael Maskell said urgent plans were needed if families are to be able to safely enjoy the festive season together in the midst of a second coronavirus wave.

She told YorkMix: “The conversation I’m trying to have now is what do we do about Christmas? If we don’t start that conversation now, we’re not going to get there in just a couple of months time.”

She says plans might include adding an extra couple of weeks of Christmas holiday before the big day – or even the possibility of putting the celebrations back.

“People may get a Christmas present they never wished for, if there aren’t interventions made,” the York Central MP said.

“And that’s why I think it’s absolutely crucial that we look at the whole economy, and how every segment of kind of society works, with regards to ensuring you can hug your granny at Christmas.”

Meticulous planning

Rachael Maskell MP

“We need to ensure that families can safely come together at Christmas, which means you’re going to have to plan ahead of Christmas,” Ms Maskell said.

“Now, I think if we have effective track and trace – possibly the lateral flow tests will be in circulation by then – that could be a game changer. Because you get your rapid return around on infection rates.

“But if not, then how do we perhaps bring forward the Christmas holiday, so that people have got a couple of weeks before Christmas, in order to then be able to have that family contact?

“Is there more that can be done around workplaces, to make them more Covid secure? It’s really going to need meticulous planning. And if that doesn’t start now, it’s Christmas isn’t going to happen.”

But if people spent their two weeks’ holiday Christmas shopping that would be a problem, the Labour MP conceded.

“That’s why I think it needs really serious consideration. How would this really be effective? Or even delaying Christmas? I don’t know.

“That might be unpalatable for some people, but it may make it more possible for others. I just think we have to have the conversation.

“I don’t necessarily have all this kind of solutions. But I think you’ve got to start planning. It’s complicated.”