Following the unlocking of restrictions on 19th July, many of you have written to me with your concerns about the impact of the easing of these restrictions. I do understand why people are worried, but we have the most successful vaccine rollout programme of any of the G7 and those vaccines really have reduced the risks to people from the virus, so whilst care is needed, it is right that we should start to open up.
However, things are not back to normal yet. I know that many of you were disappointed that there is no Leek Show this year. I know how hard the Committee worked to try and find a way to hold the Show but do support their decision and look forward to a bigger and brighter Show in 2022.
Other events are taking place though. We had the Churches Together, Open-Air Café in Biddulph recently and I am looking forward to the Manifold Show due to take place on August 14.
Our pubs, bars and restaurants are also working hard to get back to some sort of normality and I was pleased the Government launched the first-ever hospitality strategy. The pandemic has hit the sector hard but this strategy will make it easier for pubs, restaurants and cafés on the high street to offer al fresco dining and serve more customers outside, with pavement licenses being extended and made permanent. Takeaway pints will also continue for another 12 months as the temporary permissions for off-sales of alcohol are extended.
Whilst we enjoy our restored freedoms, we must remember that the pandemic is not over. As we all learn to live with this virus, we must continue to carefully manage the risks from COVID and exercise personal judgement when going about our lives.