As I See It: Terry Murden
Holidays we never had. It’s bound to be a talking point for families in the years to come as they sit at home this bank holiday weekend watching repeats of Columbo and Antiques Road Trip when they were supposed to be soaking up the Florida sun.
It’s sod’s law that because of the coronavirus lockdown we can’t even enjoy unusually fine Easter weather at home. The sun lounger in the garden is the best bet, that’s if you’ve got a garden, or a lounger.
Perhaps it’s frustration at being forcibly housebound that has led 71% of people who’ve booked a foreign holiday this summer to remain hopeful they’ll still be going.
The findings by Jerseyholidays.com from a sample of 1,864 people aged 21 to 65 also revealed that young people and men were the most optimistic about donning the Bermudas and parading on the beach as planned.
Maybe they’re just glass half full sort of people, or in spite of the 24/7 BBC broadcasts they still haven’t fully appreciated the seriousness of the situation. Maybe they’re just a tad delusional.
A large number of those sunseekers will have booked their summer break in Spain, Italy, France or the US – four of the most infected countries.
We’re all hoping things will get better soon, but no one can be sure when it will peak or for how long the lockdown will continue, but it is going to get worse before it gets better.
According to one piece of research, coronavirus is now the leading cause of death in America, killing more on average each day than cancer or heart disease. There’s little sign of it receding quickly enough for Mickey Mouse to start welcoming guests back to Disneyworld any time soon.
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office is still advising against all non-essential travel ‘indefinitely’ – that could mean months – and it’s not surprising that 91% of those in the survey who did not think they will be travelling this summer said the situation made them no longer want to go. Three-quarters (75%) thought the crisis will get worse.
An easing of the lockdown has to come soon as the wider damage to people’s health, wellbeing and the economy is too scary to contemplate.
But even when we’re released from our benign house arrest the virus will not necessarily be in remission and it is equally worrying that a return to freedom of movement will see long queues forming at the airports as sun worshippers leap at the first opportunity to pack their bags.
I suggest anyone who does make it abroad this year is ordered to spend at least a fortnight in quarantine when they come back. There is just too much at stake to believe we can get back to normal and the risk of bringing back a secondary wave of infections is unpalatable.
So it looks like 2020 will be the year of the staycation. Ironically, a tourism boom for the UK was predicted, though that was on the back of an expected surge in foreign visitors who will now be as common as a party invitation. For the time being, those who live in popular destinations, from Luss to the Lake District, can enjoy having the place to themselves at least until the summer.
Those who’ll be searching the web for B&Bs in Ayr rather than villas in the Algarve will be hoping that by the time they get there the sun will at least put in an appearance. If it rains – and it surely will – there’s always those Instagram shots from last year to remind them of what might have been.