From those on the front line of the NHS and our social care services, to those who heeded the advice and stayed at home, everyone doing their bit has helped get the coronavirus under control. This progress means some of the restrictions imposed have been eased, allowing many favourite outdoor pastimes to restart, garden centres to re-open and delayed home moves to be completed. Yet we cannot become complacent about the lethal threat which still exists and must stay alert to it. Most lockdown restrictions are still in place and many businesses must remain closed. If, and only if, the progress we are now making in reducing the spread of the virus continues we could see other freedoms return and businesses re-open, with the tantalising prospect our much-hit tourism industry could see some trade this summer. Yet we all have our own part to play in what happens next. The decisions we each make could be the positive difference needed to get things further under control. Alternatively, by ignoring the guidelines and trying to find loopholes each time we want to do something, the virus could get a grip again. FURLOUGH EXTENDED Workers and businesses across Torbay have been given a boost after the Government announced the current furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months, with workers continuing to receive 80 per cent of their current salary. The decision to extend the scheme, which will continue to apply across all regions and sectors in the UK economy, comes after the Government outlined its plan for the next phase of its response to the coronavirus outbreak. This news gives certainty on this key support scheme which is saving jobs and ensuring our bay’s economy will be ready to recover once the current threat is defeated. THE TIP IS BACK Throughout the last two months Tor2’s frontline staff have worked hard to maintain basic services here in our Bay, especially bin and recycling collections. One service which did close was Torbay’s Household Waste Recycling Centre, better known as the tip. Yet as infection rates have declined and appropriate public health guidance was agreed to protect staff, the Government has for some weeks been encouraging councils to reinstate this service, not least to give householders a way of disposing of items which cannot be placed in the bin. Devon County Council re-opened their sites last week and this week it was welcome to see Torbay follow them, although with a booking system in place to prevent overcrowding and protect staff. SURGERY TIMES Based on current advice relating to the coronavirus I have cancelled my regular advice surgeries and drop-in sessions at my East Street office until further notice. I hope to restart them as soon as possible, but in the meantime a telephone call surgery appointment can be arranged. Please note due to the current level of demand these telephone surgeries are for urgent personal matters, such as welfare, immigration, problems accessing support and benefits, rather than to discuss policy or the wider situation nationally. You can either email me at email@example.com or leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.