The final step of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown is now in place, – with social distancing and mask-wearing requirements in law ending, large events restarting, restrictions on care home visits being lifted and all businesses being allowed to fully reopen.
I am getting some correspondence from constituents who feel this is too soon., given the number of new coronavirus cases reported daily, raising to 50,000 last week. However, the link between cases and hospitalisations has been greatly weakened and fewer people are having to receive hospital treatment as a result of catching the virus.
Although I would encourage everyone to make the most of the chance to go out for drinks and meals with friends and family, to make up for a miserable year of social isolation and the huge impact on the hospitality industry, I would also ad a note of caution.
The pandemic is not over. We will heave to learn to lie with this virus, and although the legal restrictions end this week, we all need to carefully manage the risks and exercise caution when going about our lives. Face coverings will no longer be legally required in shops, schools, hospitality, or on public transport although guidance will be in place to suggest where people might choose to wear one.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of as many people as possible being vaccinated so they have some protection against being infected by Covid-19. The interval between vaccine doses is being reduced from 12 to 8 weeks, which means every adult in the country has the chance to be doubly vaccinated by September. The Brentwood Centre and St Margaret’s are the two main vaccination centres for Brentwood and Ongar constituents, but there is a multitude of vaccine hubs and walk-in centres within a short car, bus or train journey, so access to the jabs is not a problem for anyone who needs one.
We will need to take care in the next few weeks and months, to ensure the NHS is protected as our freedoms are restored, but for this week, the sun is out, the pubs and restaurants are open, so get out and make the most of the summer while you can.