HAVING seen the rate of spread of coronavirus continue to fall we are now in a position to see the lockdown being relaxed from next week.

We have recently seen new guidance issued on how schools may reopen, and some businesses get back to work safely. As individuals and for businesses, we do need to remember that however long and difficult this crisis turns out to be, it is only temporary.

This is good news for so many reasons. Millions of jobs have effectively been suspended by coronavirus and sadly lost in many cases. We all long to get back to something close to normal.

However, the virus is still out there, and it will take a huge effort from all of us if we are to continue to relax the lockdown and still keep it’s transmission under control. The aim of the new guidance is to let us get our lives back to normal as much as possible, without letting the virus get back out of control.

That’s why the changes announced recently have been modest. We are still supposed to stay at home as much as possible. We should be working from home if we can. Whilst some restrictions on exercise and being outdoors have been relaxed, social distancing is still the order of the day.

My team and I have continued to work from home. Last week though I returned to work in Westminster for the first time since mid-March, as I believe it would be wrong to ask for teachers and children to go back to school if MPs are unwilling to go back to Parliament.

Meanwhile, every day that schools are closed, children miss out on learning and socialising at a vitally important time in their lives. Having children at home all the time is hard on families, especially where children may have additional needs, and will be stopping some parents from getting back to work.

It is important schools are trusted to take the lead on knowing whether they can open safely. In a situation like we find ourselves in which could run for many more month’s risks cannot be eliminated but need to be managed responsibly. I know many local schools are working incredibly hard to see what is possible.

Now more than ever we need a co-ordinated message on moving out of lockdown and reopening our schools and businesses. As such I look forward to my first meeting with the new council leader to try and find that consensus and compromise for the benefit our towns.

It will be great to get back to normal. For now, we need to make the best of the situation we can and remember why we’re doing this – to save lives.