Not seeing our nearest and dearest has, for many of us, been one of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with restrictions being relaxed, the government has said that those living in England are able to meet one other household indoors and in groups of up to six people outside (more if everyone is exclusively from two households).

But with the virus still circulating, is it really a good idea to meet up with your close family, particularly those who are classed as more ‘vulnerable’?

The pandemic is not over

Unfortunately for many, the  eagerly awaited moment when family and friends could finally hug those closest to them without fear of  passing on or catching the virus has not yet materialised. 

A quick internet search will tell you  that in the United Kingdom on 19 July 2020, a total of 827 new cases of Covid-19 were reported. Of course, this is much fewer than the peak of almost 9,000 in mid-April but it shows that a people are still catching and are testing positive for COVID-19.

The decision is a very personal one

Whilst the government’s current advice allows members of one household to visit another, there are no doubt going to be those who do not feel comfortable doing so quite yet.

After months of keeping our distance and not venturing into anyone else’s house, visiting others, or having people in our own home, it is perhaps natural to feel a little anxiety as we make contact with our loves ones again. This is especially true when you consider that many restrictions are still in place: social distancing and appropriate hygiene measures should still be maintained, for example.

Since the government introduced the social ‘bubble’ system, the first signs of something akin to our previous normality have begun to return. News articles and social media are filled with warm stories of parents and children and other family members separated for months reuniting again. The importance of social connection and family shine through in each one.

For some, the continuing risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19, is still too high to justify a reunion  with their nearest and dearest. For others, that risk is worth taking. What we opt to do now and how we choose to interact with our families over the next few months, whether virtually over Zoom or face-to-face in our front rooms, will be a very personal decision. Each person – and every family – will have to decide what is right for them.

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