We all need to help bring this virus under control

The English Riviera International Conference Centre building with a palm tree in the foreground

A vaccination hub has been set up at the English Riviera International Conference Centre - Credit: Submitted

The start of another national lockdown was not the start to 2021 anyone wanted, yet with the new variant seeing infection rates increase and the resulting pressure on the NHS it was sadly inevitable.  

I understand the thought of giving up a favourite sport or pastime, having to stay home rather than meet friends and for some taking a significant hit to their business is not something anyone relishes. 

Sadly, there are no easy options, no simple solutions or clever tricks, only the reality of the pressure on our NHS, the escalating rates of infection the new strain is causing across the UK and the need to take action now, not wait until the day before the NHS is overwhelmed. 

Yet amid the gloomy news, there are rays of light as the vaccination programme ramps up across the country and here in our Bay.

Last week saw the vaccination hub at the English Riviera International Conference Centre continue vaccinating those aged over 80, the opening of another hub at Torbay Hospital for NHS staff and a mobile team to visit care home residents starting its work, with 85 residents and staff vaccinated at a Paignton care home on their first stop. 

We will beat this latest threat to our Bay and the blue skies of summer could bring with them much sunnier times, yet for now we must all set ourselves to the task of bringing the virus under control and helping protect the most vulnerable from it. 

Hospitality  

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Inevitably a virus which thrives on human contact has meant a big hit for Tobay’s hospitality businesses, from both the restrictions necessary to bring it under control and many regular visitors being nervous about leaving their home. 

The latest grants announced last week will help many businesses in the Bay and are in addition to existing weekly closure payments, plus the furlough scheme for staff.  

It may seem a long way off at the moment, but we also need to look towards the time when we can start welcoming back visitors, with many across the UK set to see a staycation as the right option this summer if they do get the chance for a holiday. 

With several large new hotels under construction and many traditional hotels having upgraded their offer over recent years, our Bay could be at the centre of a revival for the hospitality industry post-covid. 

It was therefore good to read Mitch Tonks set out his vision for how the industry could make its voice heard at the heart of Government in last week’s Torbay Weekly. 

After what has mostly been a year to forget for many tourism businesses, summer 2021 could be the start of a staycation era for the future.  

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.