Mark Easton - Christmas is coming, but so too we're told is Omicron, the latest Covid variant. So after last year's festivities were thrown into disarray by those last minute restrictions, how do people feel about Christmas this year, with case numbers rising FAST once again? We have assembled a cross section of people from across Britain with the help of pollsters IPSOS Mori.
Mark Easton - Well, welcome one and all. I thought we'd start by getting a sense of how excited or worried you are about Christmas 2021. How you all feeling?
Man 1 - We cancelled our Christmas dinner last year. There's no way we're going to cancel it this year. We've already bought all the food.
Man 2 - I'm a little bit apprehensive. The health minister said it's the worst possible time for this current strain to appear.
Woman 1 - I used to go to a winter wonderland which was all rides and extremely busy. This year I've chosen not to do that because I don't want to expose them to Covid and to ruin our family time over Christmas.
Man 3 - I live my life now more scared that somebody else is going to impact my family Christmas. I live in fear that I'm going to get that NHS ping.
Mark Easton - IPSOS-Mori conducted some polling to assess the nation's mood. 80% said they're concerned about the Covid risks to the country. Just 18% say they're not concerned.
Mark Easton - We don't know how dangerous Omicron is going to be, and I want to know whether you think we've got the restrictions about right, are they too tough, or should we be bringing even more in?
Man 4 - That is something, I'm quite upset about the fact they haven't toughed up on the masks.
Mark Easton - So you would like to see even tougher restrictions, Nadeem?
Man 4 - We have to see tougher restrictions just to make sure everyone else is safe, cos you'd rather me safe than sorry.
Man 5 - For me personally, I think everyone should just judge their own risk in an individual way.
Mark Easton - You care about your liberties?
Man 5 - You can't keep locking down, and I look at Europe and some of the restrictions seem quite scary.
Man 6 - If a new variant comes up, that just means we're going towards being locked down again, so at some point we need to find a way to live with the various variants.
Mark Easton - IPSOS-Mori also asked about restrictions. 63% said we should do whatever is necessary to prevent spread and reduce deaths, the highest proportion since the pandemic began. 21% said controls should be relaxed.
Woman 2 - I think people have lost respect and if you've lost respect, you've lost us.
Mark Easton - What did our panel think about those rumours of a Christmas party in Downing Street last year?
Man 3 - Now I completely believe about the party that the politicians had, because it's one rule for them, as we saw early on last year with the visit to the castle, and another rule for us.
Woman 1 - Yeah. We have to wear masks, but they don't wear masks in Parliament. It is not a big deal. At the school gates. But I think it would be a disaster if the schools closed, so...
Woman 3 - For me wearing a mask isn't a big deal. At school gates. Yeah, I think it would be a complete disaster if the schools closed. That would be my biggest fear if everybody goes crazy at Christmas.
Mark Easton - Well, thank you for your thoughts. And however you end up spending it, I wish you a peaceful and hopefully joyful festive period. So Happy Christmas to you all!
Participants - Happy Christmas!
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