Hugging back on the agenda again as restrictions ease - but not everyone is happy about it

HUGGING is back on the agenda after being allowed once again as part of the government’s roadmap out of the pandemic.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 6:38 pm

But while some on Southsea Common embraced the opportunity to show their affection to those close to them, not all were impressed by the relaxation of the rule – with them believing it is ‘too early’.

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Mum and daughter Zena and Charlie Crabtree were happy to hug each other but were opting for caution with others. ‘I’m not going to start hugging people I’m not close to,’ Zena, 66, of Bedhampton, said.

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Jan Spendlove (left) with daughter Vicky Ellis (centre) and friend Chris Ewing

‘I’m happy to give my mum a hug but not people I’m not close to and I won’t be hugging family when we have a gathering soon.’

Charlie, 32, of Southsea added: ‘I don’t know how careful other people have been so I won’t be hugging lots of people.

‘I’m not sure about hugging and am not a bigger hugger anyway. I think the social norms and boundaries will change now.’

Southsea neighbours Pauline Porter, Jacqueline Ciccarone and Nigel Price said they were not keen to start hugging people. ‘It’s ok with our nearest and dearest but we should be cautious,’ Pauline, 60, said.

Eileen Bray (left) and Rosemary Edwards on Southsea Common

Jacqueline, 60, said: ‘I won’t be hugging people I don’t see all the time. You get some people who come up and give you a hug so at least now you don’t have to give people a hug you don’t want to.’

However, others had missed the hug.

Southsea resident Chris Ewing, 68, said: ‘Hugging is a good thing, I’ve missed it. I hugged my grandson today which was really nice. He was not impressed though.

‘It’s nice to cuddle my grandchildren. With the weather being bad we haven’t been able to see them as much.’

Charlie and Zena Crabtree hugging on Southsea Common

Chris’ friend Jan Spendlove, 64, of Old Portsmouth, said: ‘I’ve bumped into friends and have been doing the elbow greeting. I’ll probably carry on doing it for a while as we still need to be careful.’

Others were outright against hugging. Eileen Bray, 69, of Southsea, said: ‘I’m not hugging people. It’s too soon for that.

‘I think we are rushing into everything. It doesn’t help that we are told we can do this and that but are told to be careful. I don’t think a lot of people listen and can do that.’

Eileen’s friend Rosemary Edwards, 80, of Southsea, added: ‘I’m quite happy not to hug people.

‘People need to be careful, not just younger people but older people too.’

Lizzy and Nigel Turner were in Portsmouth for a funeral with the former’s mum Patricia Adams after travelling from Worcestershire. ‘I will hug people I know at the funeral,’ Lizzy said.

‘It’s not a concern for me. I’ve been vaccinated.’

Patricia said: ‘Not a lot has changed, you don’t hug strangers. Old friends maybe. It’s marvellous we can meet up and talk.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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