THE possibility that children may be able to see their grandparents from as early as next month has been described as “life-changing” by North East parents and grandparents.
Media reports suggest that ministers looking to lift lockdown restrictions from March 8 are considering that people from different households could meet on a one-to-one basis for more than just exercise.
Under this possible relaxing of the rules, children could be exempt, meaning that with an adult from their household they might be allowed to meet outside with a grandparent.
A source told the Telegraph newspaper that it would “likely be okay” if the grandparent had received the vaccine.
Rachael Smith, from Cramlington, says the news would be “life-changing” if her children could see their grandparents.
“With welcoming my youngest to the world during lockdown, he hasn’t been able to see his grandparents or be held by them, so he’s missed having that bonding time, which is so sad and it’s time we cannot get back ,” she said.
“My eldest can’t wait to see people and stay at their houses once the ‘nasty bug’ has gone. He’s found it really difficult not seeing his family and even developed a stammer due to the significant change.”
Kevin and Terri McGuinness, from Durham, have also struggled without physically being able to see their three grandchildren this year.
Kevin said: “We’ve seen the grandchildren on FaceTime over the last months, but am so looking forward to giving them a big cuddle when lockdown is over.
“They grow up so fast that losing a year out of their lives is heart-breaking.”
“Words are not enough,” Terri added, “I have missed them so much, their laughter, their giggles and even the arguments.
“What I would do just for their hugs.”
The news has also been welcomed by grandmother-of-three Theresa Johnson, from Washington. She has two granddaughters, aged 21 and 16, and a 14-year-old grandson.
“It’s been really awful not being able to cuddle my grandchildren or invite them in for a coffee and a sit-down, and it’s been really awful for grandchildren not being able to see their grandparents,” she said.
“With the last lockdown, it was warmer, and we could socially distance in the garden. It won’t be warm in March, but at least we can go on a socially-distanced walk with our grandchildren.”
She also said she found the festive period difficult, having planned to have her family around one day during Christmas, but then being forced to cancel due to lockdown rule changes.
Patricia Wilkinson, from Sunderland, also echoed the difficulties of not being able to see her 14-year-old grandson and two granddaughters, aged 20 and 12. She said she has sometimes spoken to them on the drive, from her porch door, or over the phone.
She added that due to problems walking, the possibility of meeting outdoors for walks would be difficult for her and that she would enjoy sitting socially distanced in the garden with her grandchildren.