Gary Porter: "A step in the right direction, but COVID is far from a thing of the past"

Posted on 16 July 2021

South Holland District Council Leader Gary Porter shares his thoughts with residents ahead of the lifting of restriction on Monday 19 July, welcoming the changes whilst still warning that COVID hasn't gone away yet, and to continue to exercise caution moving forwards.

"With the Government having now confirmed the planned changes to the country's COVID-19 guidance from Monday, it feels like a time for relief and celebration after an incredibly difficult 16 months.

"The collective effort amongst our communities that has allowed us to get through these lockdowns and restrictions has been a much-needed positive and inspiration during hard times, and the need for this continued joint responsibility will not suddenly end from next week.

"Whilst we are taking a positive and long-anticipated step in the right direction, we must remain aware that COVID is far from a thing of the past, and this is instead a move to a new phase of living with the virus and its impact, made possible through the success of our vaccination programme.

"As I'm sure you have seen, cases continue to rise across the country, and now is not the time for us to become complacent or to get ahead of ourselves with the progress we have made. I'm sure, like me, you are ready to take the next step towards what feels like normality, but please continue to follow some of the simple steps that have helped slow the spread of the virus over the last year.

"When out and about please continue to be mindful of those around you - not only do you not know whether they may be carrying the virus, but also their own feelings towards it and how they may be feeling returning to public. Simple things like continuing to wear your face coverings in crowded or confined spaces and sanitising your hands regularly remain small things that can make a big difference.

"Few places have felt the impact of the pandemic greater than our local and independent shops, hospitality venues and businesses, and they will need your support more than ever in the coming months. So whether its retail therapy, a meal out or the simple pleasure of a pint that you've been missing, please get out there and support those working hard in our towns and villages, whilst remaining respectful of those out doing the same and the rules each business may choose to have in place.

"Choosing to live with something is different to it having gone away forever and, as with everything from cars to bungee jumping, following the advice and guidance in place and doing everything we can to avoid unnecessary risk is the best way to keep everyone safe. Thank you for all you have done so far, and what you will continue to do in the coming weeks and months to help us build and recover from the impact of COVID."