The good news is that we are now in stage one of easing the lockdown. We can move around a bit more, and some businesses can start to reopen – a tribute to the way everyone has contributed to keeping the virus under control. For the next few weeks, at least, we all must hold the habits that have helped so many others. The 2m distance remains, as does the need to follow good hand hygiene habits. Only if we keep protecting each other can we move to stage 2 without going back into full lockdown.
Coronavirus has deprived us all of something; for some, it has been a time of trauma, loss of income or even untimely death. For others, it is a time that has deprived them of social contact with folk they love; they’ve missed births and funerals all to keep other people safe. Even just missing a hug or a handshake with friends has been a much-felt sacrifice, but we know all these efforts are worth it.
It is why, I and MPS from all parties, have been deluged with emails from people disgusted with the behaviour of the Prime Minister’s right-hand man, mentor and advisor, Dominic Cummings. Public outrage at his cavalier approach to breaking the rules he helped to write has been striking, so much so that even a considerable tranche of tory MPs had to fess up to receiving thousands of complaints from outraged constituents. They are right to be angry. Cummings must go, he is a danger to the progress made by all of you – especially if his actions encourage others to behave recklessly.
The progress to phase one means that we can, at least, start planning for the return of business. In the City, this means working out how we support bars, restaurants, coffee shops and other activities vital to the health of its economy.
For the short term, at least, we will need to see cars visiting the city centre parked in car parks to open and expand streets for businesses, pedestrians and cyclists to cope with social distancing. We will also need to keep our fingers crossed for good weather to help our businesses, and we will need to remain patient as we navigate the changes to come. It will be the very same teamwork we have seen through the lockdown, that will help us to emerge from it.
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