Right balance is being struck on lifting of Covid restrictions

Shoppers wearing masks

Some people will sometimes still want to wear masks - Credit: Archant

Re-Opening 

After nearly 18 months of lockdowns and mandatory business closures, most legal restrictions relating to Covid-19 will come to an end. 

The most visible impact of this in our bay will be the re-opening of nightclubs, the return of service at the bar in pubs, the removal of limits on attending events and the removal of face covering rules. Whilst the limit of five named visitors to care homes will be removed, other protective measures will remain in place. 

I appreciate many will be nervous of further moves to re-open, not least given what we have been through over the last 18 months, yet there is no risk-free option as maintaining restrictions has an impact in terms of mental health and lives, not just the impacts on the economy. Measures in terms of testing and monitoring will be maintained and a booster jab campaign is being planned for later this year, plus major changes to self-isolation rules will not come in until August 16 

The timing of the change is key. It comes as schools prepare to break for the summer holidays, whilst warmer weather means many business premises can easily open windows to let in fresh air, plus many will prefer to be outside anyway, helping, reduce the risk further. The school holidays point being a key one given those aged under 18 are the only age group not to be offered a Covid vaccination over the last few weeks. 

Some will claim it is too early, others argue Step Four should have happened last month, but following talking with local health leaders and looking at the advice being given, the appropriate balance is being struck. 

Face Coverings 

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Some will wish to continue wearing face coverings and we should all be conscious of those who may feel less comfortable if we are close to them without wearing one, especially indoors. 

For my own part it will still make sense to wear one over summer when on a crowded train or bus and if in close contact with someone else, for example when getting a haircut or visiting my Dad in his care home, yet the time has now passed for this to be an issue where the police can fine people or have to identify if a specific exemption applies to someone not wearing one. 

Penalties 

There was a sense of dread when the Euro 2020 final went to penalties, the hardest way to end any tournament. 

Yet whilst there were tears on Sunday, we can be proud of our team, especially Manager Gareth Southgate who took England to a place only Sir Alf Ramsey had reached before him, a final. 

Qatar 2022 could be their time. 

Surgery Times 

I have restarted face to face advice surgeries, but telephone appointments can still be arranged if preferred. Sadly, my surgeries must remain by appointment only at this stage. 

Surgeries are for urgent personal matters, such as welfare, immigration, housing, problems accessing support and benefits. 

For an appointment you can either email me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com or leave a message on 01803 214989. You can also drop into my office at 5-7 East St, Torquay, TQ2 5SD between 10am & 1pm Monday to Friday, please note you may have to wait outside if others attend at the same time.