After a Warning, UK Marks Mother's Day Creatively

Call or meet online, Johnson advises
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 22, 2020 11:30 AM CDT
After a Warning, UK Marks Mother's Day Creatively
Helen Walters, left, talks to her mother, Gillian, online Sunday in London.   (Dominic Lipinski / PA via AP)

Sunday was Mother's Day in Britain, prompting the government to issue a stark warning: Visiting your mom could kill her. Prime Minister Boris Johnson implored Britons to forego the day's traditional family visits, parties and lunches, saying he could not "disguise or sugarcoat the threat" poised by the COVID-19 pandemic. "If your mother is elderly or vulnerable, then I am afraid all the statistics show that she is much more likely to die from coronavirus," he said. "This time, the best thing is to ring her, video call her, Skype her, but to avoid any unnecessary physical contact or proximity." As the nation struggles with how strongly to crack down on everyone's daily movements to slow the spread of the disease, Johnson has been accused of sending mixed messages, the AP reports. On Friday, he said he hoped to see his 77-year-old mother on Mother's Day. His office later said he would speak to her by Skype.

People have found creative ways to stay in touch. Some left Mother’s Day bouquets on doorsteps. Other families planned to sit down for a meal at the same time but in different homes, linked by FaceTime or Skype. Social entrepreneur Affi Parvizi-Wayne usually gets together with her extended family in London; Sunday is also the birthday of her mother, Asfar. "It’s a big deal for us. She cooks, we go round there, we all go for a walk — it’s a whole-day event," Parvizi-Wayne said. This year, Afsar, 74, was cooking a meal of herbed rice and fish from ingredients dropped off on her doorstep. Parvizi-Wayne plans to deliver the food to relatives nearby and hold a family gathering online. "She’s going to sit at the top of the virtual dining table," Parvizi-Wayne said. Middle Eastern countries faced the same dilemma when they celebrated Mother’s Day on Saturday. A popular online greeting card praised mothers as the original advocates of hand-washing.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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