‘My heart says yes, my head says no way’ – shoppers divided on Christmas mixing

Shoppers in one South Yorkshire town are split on what the rules around households mixing at Christmas should be.

While some of the people questioned at Doncaster's market on Wednesday by the PA news agency believe the Government should ban all households from mixing, others said they will see their families whatever the Prime Minister decides.

George and Sandra Stanger, both 71, said they will not be seeing their children and labelled the Government's policy as an "absolute disaster waiting to happen", as they bought groceries from the market.

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UK prepares for Christmas
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UK prepares for Christmas
A man wearing a Santa Claus costume in the dug out ahead of the Sky Bet League Two match at Blundell Park, Grimsby. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Christmas decorations outside The Dome in George Street, Edinburgh. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
General view of the Christmas tree at a quiet Covent Garden Piazza, in central London, which is currently under Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled Christmas for almost 18 million people across London and eastern and south-east England following warnings from scientists of the rapid spread of the new variant of coronavirus. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man dressed as Santa Claus waves to baby Emma (no last name given) from a cherry picker outside Leeds Children's Hospital in Yorkshire. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
A man dressed as Santa Claus kneels outside the building as he speaks to Darcie Jones, aged 8, through an open doorway as he visits patients at Leeds Children's Hospital. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
SALISBURY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: A Big Issue seller dressed as Santa Claus is seen on December 21, 2020 in Salisbury, England. A new strain of the Covid-19 virus has led to France closing ports to British goods for 48 hours from Sunday night. This has led to a number of UK supermarkets warning of potential food shortages just a few days before Christmas. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)
ABERBEEG, WALES - DECEMBER 21: A general view of a garden centre and Christmas tree stockiest which has now had to stop trading as part of the Covid Trading restrictions on December 21, 2020 in Aberbeeg, Wales. The Welsh Government has announced a new lockdown over the Christmas Period in a bid to reduce the increase of the new strain of Coronavirus (Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)
Shoppers in the centre of Bristol, as people in Tier 2 areas of coronavirus restrictions continue with their Christmas preparations. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 16 EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Left to right) Bonnie the Springer Spaniel and Lola the Cavapoo, receive Christmas gifts at Woofs A Daisy pet shop in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey to celebrate the American Express Shop Small campaign.
EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 16 EDITORIAL USE ONLY Yoda the Pekingese, receives Christmas gifts at Woofs A Daisy pet shop in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey to celebrate the American Express Shop Small campaign.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: A young fan in an Everton Christmas Jumper celebrates their victory during the Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on December 12, 2020 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. A limited number of spectators (2000) are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)
Maja-Isobel Lawson looks up at illuminated lanterns depicting the Mad Hatter's tea party, the sculptures form part of the enchanting Alice in Winterland Christmas Lights Trail at Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
Choristers sing during a photo call as the St Paul's Cathedral Choristers prepare for their first livestreamed Christmas concert at St Paul's Cathedral in London on December 14, 2020. - Due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on numbers of visitors to the Cathedral St Paul's is livestreamning their Christmas concerts for the first time. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Shoppers take a selfie outside a window display on Oxford Street, in central London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (wearing a paw print design face mask) decorates a Christmas Tree, with a corgi dog decoration, as she visits Battersea Dogs Home to open the new kennels and thank the centre's staff and supporters on December 9, 2020 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images/Pool)
Larry the 10 Downing Street cat stalks a pigeon near the CHristmas tree in Downing Street in central London on December 9, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen are to meet in Brussels on Wednesday to try to break the deadlock in Brexit trade talks. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Visitors to Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling, Scotland, enjoy the illuminations installed in the Safari Park's new 'World of Dinosaur' exhibit. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
HAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09: Sophie, Countess of Wessex visits the Shooting Star Children's Hospices charity shop to help it prepare for Christmas on December 9, 2020 in Hampton, England. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: A man dressed as Santa Claus attends a demonstration against the current Covid-19 restrictions in Hyde Park on December 5, 2020 in London, England. London has been in Tier 2 restrictions since the lockdown ended on December 2. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
CHARLESTOWN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Eight year-old Bellami Smit visits the festive Tunnel of Lights at the Shipwreck Treasure Museum on December 3, 2020 in Charlestown, England. The tunnel is Europe"u2019s longest underground tunnel of festive lights. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: 'Festive Wishes from the Savoy' a brand new golden well of wishes, where visitors can drop in their wishes as part of the new festive charity initiative, part of the Christmas decorations at The Savoy Hotel on December 03, 2020 in London, England. Making a wish requires a minimum donation of £5 with proceeds being shared equally between two charities, Hospitality Action and The Connection at St Martin in the Fields. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
A contractor uses a cherrypicker to place final decorations on a 40ft Christmas tree during a photo call in the courtyard of Somerset House in London on December 3, 2020. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Two year old Antoin McCready walking through The Jailhouse Christmas Magic on Joy's Entry in Belfast with his mother Patricia Williamson. (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: General Manager, James Keogh of The Churchill Arms poses outside his pub after turning on their 2020 Christmas lights on December 2, 2020 in London, England. Many Christmas events have been cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic but London is festooned with Christmas Lights across the capital. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)
BERWICK-UPON-TWEED, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meet staff and pupils from Holy Trinity Church of England First School as part of their working visits across the UK ahead of the Christmas holidays on December 7, 2020 in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, United Kingdom. During the tour William and Kate will visit communities, outstanding individuals and key workers to thank them for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Andy Commins - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
An empty Christmas market on a quiet evening in Nottingham city centre. (Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Churchill Arms pub in London switches on its Christmas lights. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Shoppers walk under the Christmas lights on Regents Street in London on December 6, 2020. - Shoppers returned to Englands high streets this week as shops reopened following the end of a four-week coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Hollie Adams / AFP) (Photo by HOLLIE ADAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Christmas tree lit up on a quiet evening in Nottingham city centre. (Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images)
Shoppers walk under the Christmas lights on Regents Street in London on December 6, 2020. - Shoppers returned to Englands high streets this week as shops reopened following the end of a four-week coronavirus lockdown. (Photo by Hollie Adams / AFP) (Photo by HOLLIE ADAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the Canterbury Cathedral GirlsÕ Choir prepare to film the last of three pre-recorded online carol services which will be available to viewers on the cathedral website over the Christmas period. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 05, 2020 - Christmas lights on Regent Street- PHOTOGRAPH BY Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 05, 2020 - Christmas lights on Regent Street- PHOTOGRAPH BY Matthew Chattle / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: People walk in front of the Christmas tree in Covent Garden on December 5, 2020 in London, England. On Tuesday night, Dec 1, MPs voted in favour of government proposals to enter England into a tiered system of lockdown beginning at midnight. Residents of Tier Two - High Alert can socialise with anyone they live with or who is in their support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place. Outdoors they must observe the rule of six. Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals and must close between 11pm and 5am with last orders called at 10pm. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with. Schools remain open. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: People take a selfie in front of the Christmas tree in Covent Garden on December 5, 2020 in London, England. On Tuesday night, Dec 1, MPs voted in favour of government proposals to enter England into a tiered system of lockdown beginning at midnight. Residents of Tier Two - High Alert can socialise with anyone they live with or who is in their support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place. Outdoors they must observe the rule of six. Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals and must close between 11pm and 5am with last orders called at 10pm. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with. Schools remain open. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
Shoppers fill a temporarily-pedestrianised Regent Street in London, England, on December 5, 2020. London has returned to so-called Tier 2 or 'high alert' coronavirus restrictions since the end of the four-week, England-wide lockdown last Wednesday, meaning a reopening of non-essential shops and hospitality businesses as the festive season gets underway. Rules under all three of England's tiers have been strengthened from before the November lockdown, however, with pubs and restaurants most severely impacted. In London's West End, meanwhile, Oxford Street and Regent Street were both packed with Christmas shoppers this afternoon, with the retail sector hoping for a strong end to one of its most difficult years. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Dame Joan Collins attends the Burlington Arcade Christmas Lights switch on at Burlington Arcade on December 5, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, Dec. 4, 2020 -- People wearing face masks stand next to Christmas trees in London, Britain, on Dec. 4, 2020. Another 16,298 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,690,432, according to official figures released Friday. The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 504 to 60,617, the data showed. (Photo by Han Yan/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Han Yan via Getty Images)
AYLESBURY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Light installations entertain visitors during 'Christmas at Waddesdon' at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, on December 04, 2020 in Aylesbury, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
Farmer and artist Fleur Baxter with the Christmas character artworks she has created using hay bales on her farm in Carmyllie, Angus. Fleur, who has been nicknamed 'Balesy' by locals, allows members of the public to visit the bales in return for donations to the local food bank. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Christmas lights called 'The Spirit of Christmas' lilluminate Regent Street on December 4, 2020 in London, England. Many Christmas events have been cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic but London is festooned with Christmas Lights across the capital. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Christmas light installation on South Molton Street near Bond Street station on December 2, 2020 in London, England. Many Christmas events have been cancelled this year due to the Coronavirus Pandemic but London is festooned with Christmas Lights across the capital. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 04: A general view of an empty Christmas market bar on the Hayes on December 4, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales. Following a firebreak period that ran from October 23 to November 9 the Welsh Government have introduced new rules which will prevent pubs, restaurants and cafes from selling alcohol at any time from 6pm on Friday. The rules will be reviewed on December 17. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
People protesting against Norway's whaling industry stand in front of the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square, London. The tree is an annual gift to Britain from Norway given as a symbol of friendship and co-operation between the two countries. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dave Baptie works in the snow at the Hill End Christmas Tree Centre near Edinburgh. (Photo by Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/12/03: Dickensian theme to the decorations outside J Sheekey restaurant. Christmas Decorations around London as most retail and hospitality venues are open and looking forward to the rest of the festive season. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/12/03: View of the reindeer stables outside The Ivy Chelsea Garden. The Ivy Chelsea Garden has transformed itself into Santa's Grotto for Christmas. The trendy eatery along the King's Road has had a festive makeover with the installation including Santas mailroom, reindeer stables, Christmas tree, decorations and Santas sleigh. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Shoppers wearing face masks queue to enter a homeware store on Regent Street in London, England, on December 4, 2020. London has returned to so-called Tier 2 or 'high alert' coronavirus restrictions since the end of the four-week, England-wide lockdown on Wednesday, meaning a reopening of non-essential shops and hospitality businesses as the festive season gets underway. Rules under all three of England's tiers have been strengthened from before the November lockdown, however, with pubs and restaurants most severely impacted. In London's West End, Oxford Street and Regent Street were both busy with Christmas shoppers this afternoon, meanwhile, with the retail sector hoping for a strong end to one of its most difficult years. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/12/03: A member of staff wearing a mask posts a wish into the golden wishing well. The Savoy Hotel has reopened and launched a new Christmas charity initiative - Festive Wishes. Launched as the hotel showcases its famous Christmas decorations, The Savoy will grant wishes rewarding kindness and in doing so support two key charities, namely Hospitality Action and The Connection at St Martin in the Fields. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/12/03: View of a Christmas tree in the courtyard. London's hub of creative arts, Somerset House reopens after the end of the second coronavirus lockdown and unveils its 2020 Christmas tree along with some pop up dining domes, forming a new festive foodie experience. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Musician Tamsin Robinson rehearses for a live performance of festive music under the Christmas lights installation in the Mediterranean biome at the Eden Project on December 3, 2020 in St Austell, England. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
ST AUSTELL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: A view of a display amongst the Christmas lights installation in the Mediterranean biome at the Eden Project on December 3, 2020 in St Austell, England. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
Members of the public drive through the yard at Carters Green farm which is hosting a Christmas light display in Weston, near Crewe, England on December 3, 2020. - Fundraiser Graham Witter organises the annual display at his home in memory of his sister Jessica who passed away in 2015 but has adapted the event due to Covid restrictions. Visitors usually are able to walk around the farmyard and admire the lights. This year they are driving through a starlit garden and enjoying the display form inside their cars. Graham has raised more than £100,000 for a children's hospice running the event for the past seven years. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
CHARLESTOWN, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Eight year-old Bellami Smit visits the festive Tunnel of Lights at the Shipwreck Treasure Museum on December 3, 2020 in Charlestown, England. The tunnel is Europe"u2019s longest underground tunnel of festive lights. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
CREWE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Cars drive past the Weston Christmas light display on December 03, 2020 in Crewe, England. Graham Witter and his family are hosting a drive-through Christmas lights display event at their family home to help raise money for the Donna Louise charity in memory of Graham's sister. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
CREWE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: A person takes a photograph during the Weston Christmas light display on December 03, 2020 in Crewe, England. Graham Witter and his family host a drive-through Christmas lights display event at their family home, helping to raise money for the Donna Louise charity in memory of Grahams sister. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
The Manor is seen illuminated at a photo call for the annual 'winter light' Christmas displays at Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury, north west of London, on December 3, 2020. (Photo by BEN STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
People pose for a photograph in front of the illuminated Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square in central London on December 3, 2020. - The tree is an annual gift to Britain from Norway given as a symbol of friendship and co-operation between the two countries. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Fiona Fallows checks on a Christmas tree, crafted entirely from books, at the National Trust's Polesden Lacey, an Edwardian house and estate at Great Bookham, near Dorking, Surrey. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
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Mrs Stanger said: "We're stopping at home on our own and we think everybody else should.

"The scenario is that you put three families together, it can soon add up to 20 people.

"They're all working and some of the children are at school and then all coming into one group.

"It's just an absolute disaster waiting to happen again. We're never going to get rid of it at this rate.

"What he's (Mr Johnson) doing is just sitting on the fence."

She added: "Even if they say 'no Christmas' there'll be people who still do it, but if they do say 'no Christmas' perhaps 40% won't.

"The groups will be far too big."

Her husband said: "It just needs sorting out one way or another. Just make a decision – we're not looking forward to a third lockdown"

But Jayne Porter, also from Doncaster, said: "I don't care what the Government says, I am seeing my grandkids and my kids this Christmas morning.

"If they change their mind, I will still see them. I will not miss seeing my grandkids and my kids this Christmas."

Asked what the reaction will be if the rules are changed, Ms Porter said: "Everyone will ignore it because they want to see their families.

Also in Doncaster market, Lancelot Wallace, 70, said: "They're going to mix together anyway, because it's Christmas. If the Government did turn round and say Christmas is not here, it's going to be like watching one of those old movies – No More Father Christmas.

"I've got 17 grandkids. Is that what they're going to say if they cancel it: no more Father Christmas for kids?

"They're going to mix anyway."

Mr Wallace said he will be spending Christmas Day with just his wife, but added: "I think everybody wants to enjoy Christmas and I think everyone should get on and enjoy Christmas"

And one man in the market, who only wanted to be known as Elvis, said: "It's going to be a bleak Christmas."

In Ely in Cambridgeshire, Ian Dewis, 76, of Fordham near Colchester, said: "My heart tells me that we should (be allowed to meet up at Christmas), but my head says no way.

"I think we've sacrificed almost nine months and I think we're going to ruin it with a third spike.

"So quite clearly my view is: Put up with the sadness of not being together with your loved ones, but by about May we will all have been vaccinated and we'll have a great time together."

However, John Simmons, who lives alone, said people should be able to meet up over the festive period.

"I think you've just got to do it within reason," said the 63-year-old, of Ely.

"I'm hopefully going to have Christmas Day with four other people from three families, but it's not a big gathering.

"I think that's the thing, you don't want sort-of 60 people getting together from three different families

"Although I like being on my own I've never been totally alone on Christmas Day and I think that does bring it home to you.

"I was looking at the prospect of being on my own on Christmas Day and I thought 'I don't really fancy that very much', so I was quite pleased to be invited somewhere."

Uwin Gunaratna said the Government has taken a "really good approach" by allowing three households to form a festive bubble, while urging people to exercise caution.

"I mean there's supposed to be some sort of festivity," said the Ely 24-year-old, of Ely.

"But people should also understand how to look after themselves, it's their responsibility at the end of the day."

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