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Goater benched with family as UK shuts down

Former football star Shaun Goater is on the bench with his family amid the Covid-19 crisis in the UK.

The ex-Manchester City player, his wife and two adult daughters are all at home in Greater Manchester after Britain imposed major shutdowns in the wake of the pandemic.

Goater, now a football pundit, said: “We are all doing OK, just relaxing and dealing with the coronavirus as best we can,”

“My wife, Anita, is working from home — obviously, my work has totally stopped as there is no football activity.”

He added: “There's always a never-ending list of things that need to get done, so Anita said whenever I get bored, here's a list. That list is mighty long.

“The girls are chilling out and the good thing is it allows us to reconnect a lot better and communicate with each other.”

He said: “Now the Government is saying to stay home unless it is essential work, so that is a good thing.”

Goater has spent most of the past 30 years in Britain since his professional career took off in the late 1980s.

He said: “We see how severe things are in Italy. There is a plus side to all of this, but right now we are just seeing the negative. In the meantime, hopefully, the deaths can stop and we can get on top of this and get back to some sense of normalcy.”

Goater, who retired from the game in 2006, added: “We followed what was happening in Bermuda before, but not to the degree we are able to now.

“The things like car checks to ensure that people shouldn't be out and about are good things to make sure that it doesn't go beyond the positive cases that were last reported.”

Goater is one of many Bermudians adjusting to life under pandemic restrictions while thousands of miles from home.

Larry Dunlop was looking forward to returning to Bermuda for the Easter break to watch the Carifta Games and catch up with family and friends.

But his hopes were dashed by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of global travel.

Mr Dunlop said: “We were looking at coming home for Good Friday and then Carifta was on that weekend, so it was perfect timing.

“I'm disappointed because I wanted to see Carifta, but also spend some time with my daughter, Milun, who is in college in Canada, and family and friends.”

Mr Dunlop, who lives in Manchester, moved to Britain in 2018 so his son, Ty, 14, could advance his education and develop his football.

He said Bermudians in Britain faced the same problems as people on the island as Covid-19 spread.

Mr Dunlop added: “The UK Government has closed a lot of things down, although some people are still going to work. The grocery stores are open, but things like pubs have shut down and there is a lot less traffic on the road.

“Schools are closed now. Ty attends an independent school and they are IT-savvy so he does his schoolwork online and has a set assignment every day.

Mr Dunlop admitted life had changed in the face of so many cancellations and closures.

He said: “A small percentage are wearing facemasks in the grocery stores, a few who don't want to take any chances.

“I, too, was going to order some because I thought I was travelling, but they were hard to get online. Sanitisers sold out about two weeks ago when the panic came.”

Mr Dunlop said he was trying to take it all in his stride and cope the best he could.

He added: “It's all part of life ... I'm not a person who panics — my experiences in life have conditioned me never to panic.”

Marsha Erysthee (née Williams), originally from Sandys, has lived in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire for 25 years and visited her parents, who are in their nineties, three times last year.

She said: “I've been keeping in touch with them quite a bit on WhatsApp in video chats.

“Family members go and set up the WhatsApp video and we get to talk. It's much better for my parents as they can see the other family members.”

Ms Erysthee added: “Everyone is being affected by the pandemic — I don't know if I'm scared or not. It's so different in that we've never had this type of experience, ever.

“Some people are taking heed of the government crackdown on social gatherings, some are ignoring it. The advantage we have where I am is we are in the countryside and have open spaces. You don't see many people.”

Ms Erysthee, a mother of three, said her daughter, Bermudian-born Katrina, who works in car warranty telesales, was just laid off from her job.

Katrina said: “After the Prime Minister made a speech, we got an e-mail soon after, so obviously we're not going back into the office until further notice.

Ms Erysthee added: “I was going to try to come back to Bermuda in June, but with the quarantine, I don't know. They said if I travelled that we would be in quarantine for 14 days, so I might as well stay here rather than come to Bermuda.”

UPDATE: this article has been amended to correct that Shaun Goater has two children, not three. We apologise for the error.

Shaun Goater

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Published March 27, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated March 27, 2020 at 12:54 pm)

Goater benched with family as UK shuts down

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