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James Wild: Now what’s first? A pint or a trim?

North West Norfolk MP James Wild's weekly column during the coronavirus, Friday, June 26, 2020

A pint or a haircut – which is your priority?

In announcing that from next Saturday pubs can reopen the Prime Minister said his greater need was to trim his locks.

James Wild's latest column for the Lynn News Picture: Stock image, Pxfuel
James Wild's latest column for the Lynn News Picture: Stock image, Pxfuel

Along with pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars can reopen from 4 July. Hospitality indoors will be limited to table service.

Businesses are also being asked to help NHS Test and Trace locally to respond to any flare ups by collecting customers contact details – we all have to play our part in making this reopening work.

People can stay overnight in self-contained accommodation including hotels, B&B, or second homes. I lobbied on behalf of local businesses so that campsites with shared toilet and shower facilities could reopen. I’m pleased ministers agreed.

Most leisure and tourist attraction can reopen provided they can be Covid-19 secure including outdoor gyms, playground, museums, theme parks, and arcades. Importantly so can libraries, social clubs, and community centres.

People can now go to the hairdressers to sort out their lockdown hair. Once it is safe to do so, nail bars and other close contact services will be able to open.

These welcome changes are only possible due to the significant fall in the prevalence of the virus.

That reduction means we can change the two-metre social distancing rule which made it impossible for much of hospitality to open. Where it is possible to keep two metres apart people should – if not then keep a distance of “one metre plus”.

That means keep a metre apart while taking steps to reduce the risk of transmission such as wearing a face covering, or facing away from others.

In Parliament, I welcomed the reopening of the pubs, restaurants, holiday parks, and attractions that along with our stunning coastline make North West Norfolk such as attractive place to visit.

The Prime Minister replied that ‘folks now is the time to take a staycation in Hunstanton’. He also agreed that coastal areas need investment to level up and recover from Covid-19.

One of the hardest parts of lockdown has been not seeing family and friends but from 4 July, two households of any size can meet indoors or outside. They do not have to be the same household – people can meet one set of grandparents one weekend, the other the next, and another household after that.

Some people are concerned at lifting restrictions. That’s why we must remain vigilant and follow advice on washing our hands and other steps to reduce transmission rates. This will be guidance rather than legislation.

When we moved to ‘Stay Alert’ people were asked to use their common sense – all but a few did so. The Prime Minister was clear he won’t hesitate to reintroduce restrictions if necessary.

In Armed Forces Week, I was proud to support a Bill to increase the punishment for the desecration of war memorials.

Having spent three years advising the Defence Secretary, I know how much those who serve, and have served, as well as their families commit to keep us safe.

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