The Mayor of Milton Keynes has issued an emotive statement encouraging residents to follow the strict rules as the city enters Tier 4.
"For most of us this will come as quite devastating news and I class myself and my own family in that bracket," Cllr Geary told the community last night (19/12).
Cllr Geary is referring to the sudden news that Milton Keynes, and other areas of the county, will no longer be able to celebrate Christmas as planned.
He continued: "Like us, many of you will now not be able to meet with elderly relatives on Christmas Day or spend the day with some of those that are most dear to you.
"Quite possibly you won’t be able to do that last bit of Christmas shopping that so many of us (including me) are guilty of leaving to the last minute. The mayoress will now have to suffice with a bottle of gin until restrictions are lifted!
"But enough about us," the Mayor added, "Christmas was always going to be different, it’s now going to be very different and I understand that some people will feel that, for them, it’s now cancelled all together.
"That huge feeling of disappointment and utter frustration unites us tonight and will doubtless continue over the Christmas period.
"It matters little whether I support or agree with the government position, local political leaders have already commented on that. We now have to abide by the new rules and make the best of them. Looking for ways to get around them in order to minimise the disruption to our plans isn’t going to help in the long term. And neither is a deliberate willingness to flout them.
"With a vaccine in sight and better times ahead promised for 2021, now is the time for the Christian community and all who celebrate the Christmas season to make the same sacrifices that our friends from other faith communities have had to make this year with their own special festivals. Hard as this is it is, with the current local conditions, sadly it perhaps all seemed somewhat inevitable.
"One bit of brighter news. Places of worship remain open under the strict conditions which they have been operating under since the national lockdowns were lifted. Therefore those who were planning to attend church services this Christmas can still do so. Strict rules apply within all places of worship and these will be enforced as they have been all along.
"And so, in perhaps one of the most difficult posts that I’ve had to write in the seven months that I’ve been privileged to be your mayor I simply urge you to swallow hard, perhaps shed a tear or two, and then, hard as it is, adjust your plans accordingly. That then gives us all the best chance of protecting the NHS, saving lives and staying safe and well.
"And one final thought. The very first Christmas that Christians everywhere now celebrate annually was a pretty simple affair in a stable in Bethlehem. Whilst it might be far from ideal and not at all what we’d planned, it’s OK if ours is too!
"Stay safe and well and please in your disappointment and frustration, be kind."