MP Kevin Foster: We can now see light of summer shining before us

Paignton, Devon, UK. July 21. 2008. Holidaymakers enjoying the beach and bay at Goodrngton sands at

A staycation boom is being predicted. Here, holidaymakers enjoy Goodrngton Sands before the pandemic. - Credit: Getty Images

Just over two weeks after all children returned to school the next stage in the route map out of lockdown is imminent.

From Monday, a range of outdoor leisure activities will return, plus 'the rule of six' will return in outdoor settings, including private gardens. 

These changes being timed alongside the start of the school holidays so any impact can be monitored. 

The 'Stay At Home' rule will also formally end on March 29 but other restrictions will remain in place, such as bans on holiday travel and non-essential retail will remain closed.

This week marks one year since the first lockdown started. At the time few would have predicted how long or how challenging dealing with this pandemic would be.

Yet, as the Bay’s 'Jabs Army' has advanced, we can now see the light of summer shining before us as we move forward.

With a staycation boom being predicted, travel companies are planning 'Round Britain' cruises to deal with demand, hopefully giving our 'cruise ship car park' a chance to be a post-lockdown holiday park.

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Shielding to stop 

For thousands of people across our Bay, the last year has seen them spend months shielding at home, with many only having left it for the most urgent medical or family reasons.

The purpose of shielding was not only to protect the most clinically vulnerable, but to protect our NHS from a surge of patients requiring hospital treatment. 

If you have been shielding recently or over the last year, thank you for doing your bit to help fight the deadly threat which has faced our Bay.

As Covid-19 case numbers reduce, with more than 90 per cent of people in the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) group having now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, it has been announced the advice to shield at home will cease from April 1.

Full steam ahead at Dawlish

There was fantastic bits of news for Devon’s rail network last week.

Plans to build a rock fall shelter over a vulnerable stretch of the Dawlish coastal rail line have been given more than £37m in Government funding.

The 209m (686ft) shelter extension will be built north of Parsons Tunnel between Dawlish and Holcombe.

Network Rail has indicated the scheme will help protect the railway for the next 100 years. 

This latest funding announcement follows completion of the first phase of the new sea wall at Dawlish last year as part of the biggest programme of investment in the iconic coastal railway since Brunel built it.

After decades of under investment in our region’s rail network, which culminated in the devastating scenes of tracks left hanging in the air seven years ago, it is great to see this work progressing. 

Surgery times 

Due to the current restrictions, I have had to cancel my regular face to face advice surgeries. 

I hope to restart them as soon as possible but in the meantime a telephone call appointment can be arranged.

Please note these telephone surgeries are for urgent personal matters, such as welfare, immigration, housing, problems accessing support and benefits, rather than to discuss policy or the wider situation.  

You can either email me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com or leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.