‘My daughter’s Christmas fair was cancelled because parents are mixing fears with facts’ – Saira Khan

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The stress and mental health challenges are a reality and can never be trivialised but we have to seriously ask ourselves how we’re going to get back to living our lives without fear

Preschool teacher taking instant print transfer to decorate a Christmas Tree, Quebec, Canada
Some office parties, school concerts and Christmas fairs have already been cancelled despite no change in the Government guidance on events

Can we all please just calm down for a moment and take stock of how we are dealing with the latest coronavirus variant?

I get that some people would feel anxious when we came out of lockdown and started learning to live with Covid. And I empathise with people who have lost loved ones or are caring for those left in poor health.

The stress and mental health challenges are a reality and can never be trivialised. But we have to seriously ask ourselves how we’re going to get back to living our lives without fear.

Because there are a lot of people panicking unnecessarily – and putting the pace of moving forward with our lives backwards.

It’s not just Covid that is negatively impacting my mental health. It’s short-sighted busybodies who like to scare others.

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This week a parent on my daughter’s school WhatsApp group started a conversation about cancelling the Christmas fair. She and her kids have Covid, so she felt calling it off would save other families.

Soon there were messages of agreement and calls to cancel the fair and stream the concert instead. I read them with my head in my hands, thinking, ‘Here we go again’. Another Christmas where kids are denied some festive fun because of a few parental “concerns”.

Some disagreed. They said everyone can still go to theatres and cinemas, wear masks, do Covid tests, keep their distance, vote to have the fair outdoors and stay away if they wanted to. But those with the loudest voices got their way.

They wrote to the headmistress and, sure enough, the fair has been cancelled and the concert will now be streamed live.

This is my daughter’s last Christmas at her primary school. She was so excited about ideas for the stall she was manning with her friends and was singing her songs so often, we all learned the words. But she has lost out to parents who are scared “in case” they or their kids catch Covid.

Why can’t people stop using their own circumstances to project their fears on to the rest of us? And why are they making up their own rules? Has the Government banned fairs? No.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid says it’s fine to go ahead with Christmas, but advises people to be sensible.

It’s not just parents mixing fears with facts. Some bosses have cancelled office parties too. I do understand this virus is deadly and contagious. But why can’t we let people make their own choices?

In the light of any new variant, some will automatically overreact and seek to ban, cancel or shut down life as we know it.

I’m asking for self-testing, social distancing, mask wearing and common sense so we can get on with life and prevent mental health issues. Everyone needs to calm down – and let’s Crimbo.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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