Omicron and masks: This is what Chesterfield people think as pandemic continues
Headlines this week have been dominated by news about the new variant of Covid-19, Omicron, and the introduction of measures to tackle the virus – including the wearing of face coverings being made compulsory again in certain settings in England.
The Derbyshire Times was out and about in Chesterfield town centre on Wednesday morning to get people’s thoughts on the latest developments.
David Hunt, of Dronfield, said he was ‘not too concerned’ about Omicron at the moment in light of the booster jab campaign and added: “Let’s wait and see what happens.”
His wife, Julie, said: “We’re being careful and wearing our masks, sanitising things and avoiding crowds.”
They added that the face covering law change was a ‘good idea’.
“People might dispute that it doesn’t work,” said Mr Hunt before his wife added: “It’s a safeguard, you feel safe with it.”
She urged those who refuse to wear a face covering to ‘consider other people’.
Emily Howe, from Chesterfield, said: “To be honest, I’ve not been that concerned throughout the pandemic.
“I’ve done what I’ve needed to do and I’ve worn a mask and done what was necessary for my own safety and other people.
“But I’m no more afraid or stressed out about it (Omicron) than I was before.”
On face coverings, she said: “It should be more personal choice perhaps.
“I think you should be able to decide for yourself – but obviously again you have to consider other people and people who are worried and vulnerable.”
Rosalind Mills, of Bolsover, told us she felt ‘concerned’ about Omicron.
When asked about the new rules on face coverings, she said: “I don’t think anybody really wants it – we thought we were moving on.
“But you want to protect yourself and you want to protect your loved ones – so you do what you’re advised.”
Jacky Cutts, of Chesterfield, said: “You’re still seeing people in shops and bus drivers not wearing masks – a lot of people aren’t taking it seriously like they should do.”
Brian Hartley, from Chesterfield, added: “I think people have become more complacent.”
Many people have also been sharing their thoughts on our Facebook page.
Paula Wood said: “It’s here – we have just got to live with it like the flu."
Ryan Thorp criticised the media for not publishing the views of people who ‘aren’t worried at all’.
“People need to start thinking of what narrative the media are trying to portray,” he said.
“It’s just one huge scaremongering show driven by Government and the media.”
Many others said they were not worried about Omicron and just want to ‘move on’ from the pandemic.
At the time of publication, 22 cases of the Omicron variant had been reported in the UK.
Early evidence suggests Omicron – first identified in South Africa last week – appears to have a higher re-infection risk.
However, experts say it will take around three weeks before it is known how the strain impacts on the effectiveness of current vaccines.
The Government this week announced a major expansion of the booster jab roll-out in a bid to help stop a possible wave of infections.