Festive shoppers are ‘not worried’ about rising number of Omicron infections - but say that everyone should keep being ‘sensible’ and safe

SHOPPERS were grabbing last minute Christmas presents at a festive market in Portsmouth today, with many saying that they are ‘not too worried’ about the rising number of Omicron infections.

Saturday, 18th December 2021, 5:17 pm
Updated Monday, 20th December 2021, 5:04 pm

Despite cases of the ‘scary’ new coronavirus variant, several people said that they were not planning to change their Christmas plans - but emphasised that everyone should ‘stay safe’ and take necessary precautions.

In Commercial Road, Portsmouth husband and wife Gary and Debbie Mann, who are both jabbed, said they're 'not worried' about the variant.

Gary said: 'It would be nice to be told something - is a lockdown happening or isn't it?'

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Gary and Debbie Mann Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 181221-13)

Having caught Covid twice, Gary said that his first bout with the illness left him hospitalised for seven days.

He said: 'I was quite ill - my head didn't feel like it was connected to my body.'

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Debbie, who has had Long Covid since March, added: 'It's causing people too much anxiety - do what you can to keep yourself and the people you love safe.'

Stallholders Saira Hallmann and Tom Hallmann Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 181221-19)

The couple run a cleaning business called The Housewife Way.

Debbie said: 'We're trying as much as we can to be careful and keep people safe.'

Today, Kyle Sean-Cambridge was Christmas shopping with his five-year-old daughter Molly, who is hoping Father Christmas brings her a scooter this year.

Kyle said: 'I'm not particularly worried about it - we'll be doing home tests like we did last year. I'm not personally worried - we're taking all the precautions.

The Shivjee family, from left, India, 12, Ray, George, 10, and Jennifer Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 181221-17)

'Our Christmas plans won't change. We'll be keeping it small.'

Also at Commercial Road was the Shivjee family, who were enjoying a Saturday together.

With mum Jennifer was her husband Ray, and their two children: India, 12, and George, 10.

Jennifer said: 'I suppose I'm worried but it isn't going to change my Christmas plans.

Christmas shoppers on the last Saturday before Christmas in Commercial Road Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 181221-23)

'I can understand it might change for some people but we'll just be doing our usual thing, being careful.

'It's scary the rate it's spreading but life has to go on, just be sensible.

'Abiding by the rules is really important to us.'

Maria Stride, who was out doing some Christmas shopping with her son Chris Stride and his girlfriend Stella Anaman, said: ‘I’m not too worried - I’ve got my mask on, and I’m jabbed. I just hope that other people are too.

‘I think the majority of people are on top of it.’

Chris added: ‘I would like to think others are doing the right thing but the numbers prove they aren’t - I think it is the minority avoiding the rules.’

Stallholder Lee Egan Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 181221-18)

Businesses also reported that the news about the record number of Omicron variant infections had not put a damper on sales.

Behind The Imp-orium stall at the Christmas fair was Tom Hallmann and his mum Saira.

Tom said that they had seen ‘the best day yet’ for sales.

He added: ‘Personally for me, I’m not too worried about it [the Omicron variant] - although you’d expect it to mutate over time. It’s inevitable.

‘It’s important to stay safe.’

Lee Egan was working on the Zaza Bowtique stall in the Christmas fair.

He said that business has been pretty steady, despite news about the spreading of the Omicron variant.

Lee said: ‘We’ve been busy today - about average.

‘I’m not changing my plans for Christmas.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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Molly Sean-Cambridge, five Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 181221-16)
From left, Chris Stride, Stella Anaman and Maria Stride Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 181221-22)