The Leader of Medway Council discusses the Prime Minister's roadmap announcement last night (Monday, 12 July) in his latest message to residents.
I am sure that, like me, you are all pleased that the Prime Minister confirmed last night (Monday, 12 July), that most of the government’s Coronavirus restrictions will be eased from next Monday, 19 July. This is the day we have all been waiting for, for what feels like a very long time.
Although it is great news that we are taking a step closer to normal life, both the Prime Minister and Health Secretary have urged caution as the pandemic is not over.
From Monday, 19 July:
- You will not need to stay two metres apart from people you do not live with and there will also be no limits on the number of people you can meet. However, the government advises that you should limit the close contact you have with people you don’t live with and increase close contact gradually. They also recommend that people meet outdoors, where possible, and let fresh air into homes and enclosed spaces.
- The government will no longer encourage people to work from home if they can and expects people to gradually return to the workplace over the summer.
- We will no longer be legally required to wear face coverings, however, the government recommends that people continue to wear them in crowded areas including on public transport.
I am pleased that there will also no longer be any limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events from 19 July and that there will be no requirement for table service, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
This final step will allow many of our Medway businesses to get fully back up to speed again and we can start to enjoy a more normal life once again, getting back to the things that we love. I would encourage you, particularly during the summer holidays to continue to support local businesses safely where you can. They have supported us through the pandemic and it’s so important now that we show our support for them.
On the eve of the summer holidays this move means that our line-up of COVID-safe summer events starting from next month will go ahead. We are delighted to be teaming up with local organisations to celebrate with a number of exciting events including the first Medway Pride, Festival at the Fort, Electric Medway and more. These events are for residents and visitors of all ages, and there will be plenty of activities on offer for children and young people which supports Medway’s aspirations to become a Child-Friendly City, putting young people at the heart of everything we do. The programme will showcase all our communities, history and creativity supporting Medway’s UK City of Culture 2025 bid which would bring significant benefits to Medway. I encourage all residents to find out about more about what’s on this summer by visiting the website.
As we move into this next step however, it is really important that we remember that COVID-19 has not gone away, as the Prime Minister has reminded us last night. Infection rates are rising and it is still important to protect ourselves and our loved ones through regular testing and isolating if required. It’s never been easier to get tested and I would encourage residents to find out more by visiting the website.
And while many of us will be keen to re-establish normal life, others will be naturally more cautious and still want to wear face coverings and social distance, taking the actions they feel comfortable with to keep themselves safe. This is a time for us all to demonstrate understanding, kindness and respect to all our families, friends, neighbours and others in our community for the paths that they chose. If someone is still wearing a face covering, accept that that’s how they feel safe. The Medway community came together and supported each other so brilliantly during the pandemic lockdowns and it’s so important that that spirit continues to shine as we move into this next phase.
Cllr Alan Jarrett
Leader of Medway Council