Law change as we begin to emerge from Covid-19 pandemic

Joseph Bulmer

Last week the Government announced major changes to the Covid-19 regulations, including an end to what is termed 'Plan B'.

The first changes saw the end of face coverings in classrooms and the work from home guidance.

From today (Thursday, January 27) the legal requirement for larger venues and nightclubs to use Covid-19 certificates will cease, although those venues who want to continue using them can do so, like the Princess Theatre did when it re-opened last summer.

Face covering in locations such as shop, cinemas and hairdressers will no longer be required by law, yet we are all still being recommended to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces.

Yet businesses, along with transport operators, who wish to continue asking their customers to wear face coverings, unless medically exempt, will be able to do so and in many healthcare locations, including Torbay Hospital, face coverings will remain mandatory for visitors.

After two years of people across our Bay doing their bit, it appears we are now emerging from the pandemic.

I know some will be nervous about moves to remove legal requirements relating to it, yet these measures cannot go on forever.

As cases decline and the opportunity to have three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine has been offered to all aged 16 or over, the move to reduce\remove the legal requirements imposed on daily life is appropriate.

Ultimately, people across our Bay did their bit and made sacrifices in the fight against Covid-19 to support our community and protect our NHS and those they love, not just because the police might issue them a fine for not doing so.

Most will, therefore, continue heeding advice and doing their bit to tackle Covid-19 long after the legal requirement to do so ends.

Jungle Express

Some of my favourite childhood memories are of visits to Paignton Zoo, with a highlight being a chance to ride on the Jungle Express.

The little train has been a big part of the zoo for many years, bringing happiness and smiles for 80 years having opened during the darkest days of World War Two in 1940, with generations of children wanting to get the job of driving it when they grew up.

Yet last week came the sad news it was the end of the line for it as the zoo’s management announced it had carried its last passenger and the line would be taken up.

I hope there will be a last-minute change of heart, not least given the petition being gathered, as this little train has a big place in many people’s hearts.

Surgery times

My next surgeries are on Friday, February 4, from 10am to midday at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD and Saturday, February 12, from 11am to 1pm at Paignton Library and Information Centre, Great Western Road TQ4 5AG.

For an appointment, you can either email me at or leave a message on 01803 214989.

Surgeries are for personal queries from residents they would like me to help them with, such as housing or welfare, rather than a wider policy debate.

There are also drop-in sessions at my office 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD between 10am and 1pm Monday to Friday, where a member of my team will be available to help with any queries.