Following a dystopian year in which staying at home, social distancing and wearing masks in public became the norm, the long term impact on families throughout the nation is yet to be seen.
For some, increased time with family and less time spent commuting has been a welcome change. For others the burden of juggling workloads and home schooling has placed extra stress and strain on relationships with their nearest and dearest. Others have had to navigate the creation of childcare bubbles and the ever-shifting tiers and restrictions. Whatever the circumstances, this lockdown period has led many to reflect on the value of their support networks and what the 'new normal' will mean to them when restrictions ease.
As we move to 'phase 2' of the lifting of government regulations in England, couples who have had to postpone their weddings will finally be able to celebrate their nuptials with gradually increasing numbers of friends and family, those in long-distance relationships will be united and those with family abroad can have hope of their reunion with word of a traffic light travel system.
Over the past year, on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been seismic cultural movements sweeping across the globe, showing an appetite and momentum for change. One thing is certain, as we emerge from lockdown, people will rebuild their lives according to their pandemic experience. Reports that divorce rates rocketed in China when lockdown lifted are likely to be mirrored in the UK once restrictions ease. Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, has made no secret that the impact of this virus is here to stay - the wider implications on family life will no doubt ripple down the generations to come.