'I'm just missing that kind of closeness': Derbyshire mum explains what it will mean to hug loved ones again as lockdown restrictions set to ease
As the Prime Minister gives the green light for family and friends to hug again from next Monday, a north Derbyshire mum shared why her best friends are the people she’s desperate to embrace.
In a Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson confirmed that May 17 would be the “single biggest step” of the roadmap out of lockdown so far – with people in England allowed to hug loved ones, eat inside restaurants and pubs and go on holiday abroad.
On hugging specifically, he urged people to use their common sense and consider the vulnerability of their friends and family.
Early years practitioner Charlotte Mason, who lives in Clowne, welcomed the news which will allow her to hug her two best friends Sarah and Jenny, who she’s known for over 15 years, from next week.
The 34-year-old gave birth to her baby George in August 2019 but spent a large amount of her maternity leave under lockdown restrictions.
While Charlotte’s now 21-month-old son has been able to visit both her and her husband Luke’s parents as part of their childcare bubble, the mum, who describes herself as a ‘very huggy’ person, explained why Sarah and Jenny are the people she’s most excited to embrace.
“They are a big part of my life, they have been there for the birth of my son and really helped out when I had him,” she said.
"It is just missing that kind of closeness, I have met up with them in gardens and I have popped out to the shops with them but it's not quite the same.
"When we are out somewhere and going home, we always give each other a hug, and [without hugging] it kind of feels unfinished and 'ok, see you later, thanks for today' sort of thing.
"It just means a lot more to give them a hug, I think it just shows how much they mean to you.”
Charlotte contracted Covid-19 in October last year, after she went back to work in a nursery in September and suddenly lost her sense of taste, smell and became very tired.
The 34-year-old made a full recovery after a week but admitted it was hard being able to be in close contact with the children she cared for, while having to keep her distance with her own loved ones.
"I went back to work and we don't do social distancing or wear PPE because they are very young children so that is not advised for us”, she added.
"It has been quite difficult to go back to work and basically carry on as if nothing has changed, whereas when I'm not at work I couldn't go and see my friends, go give them a hug.”
Charlotte described the next easing of restrictions as a ‘big step’, adding that she feels optimistic about the future.
She said: "If you can be that close to people in a shop and I know you've got a mask on, by hugging your own family is it going to make that much of a difference?
"Obviously things are starting to change with people getting the vaccinations, so hopefully it will be a lot nicer for people to know they can hug and there won't be any consequences.”