I know that many of you will be pleased that from this Monday we are in Step Two of the roadmap out of lockdown with our shops, gyms, zoos, personal care services and outdoor hospitality all able to reopen. It is so good to see these businesses open again and I know just how hard they have worked to welcome people back and make sure that they have all the Covid-secure procedures in place.
I was pleased last week to host another zoom event for local pubs together with representatives from UK Hospitality and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. It was also useful to hear from Cllr Sybil Ralphs about the Restart grants which will be made available later this month to businesses in the hospitality, leisure, accommodation, personal care and retail sectors who are liable for businesses rates. More details can be found at: https://www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/Coronavirus-Business-Financial-Support. These details will be updated when they are ready to launch. SMDC is also looking to provide a similar Restart grant to those businesses in eligible sectors who were successful in applying for the Discretionary/Hardship schemes.
Last week we lost HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at the age of 99. This is sad news and all our thoughts and prayers are, I am sure, with his family, in particular HM The Queen. He gave so much to this country and his legacy will live on in so many ways, including the Duke of Edinburgh scheme which has benefitted thousands of young people, giving them opportunities to test their own resilience and endurance. For 73 years he has been at the centre of the Royal Family and a leading figure in our national life. His support to his wife was remarkable and I doubt she could have served us all as she has without him.