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James Wild: Pizza, Hunstanton kite surfing and business reopening steps

Column from North West Norfolk MP James Wild, Friday, June 12, 2020

Kite surfing off Hunstanton beach. Incredible to watch, although I’m in no rush to join them.

As I enjoyed a Jolly Sailors pizza at the cliff, I reflected on how different this summer is to those that have gone before.

Kite surfing action in Hunstanton
Kite surfing action in Hunstanton

Although we can now enjoy the coast, the pubs, restaurants, hotels and attractions are all too silent.

From Monday, non-essential retail shops can reopen provided they follow safety guidelines. Businesses and the council have been working hard to put in place steps to protect workers and customers so we can support local businesses safely.

I am looking forward to being able to go into a bookshop rather than order online.

James Wild MP
James Wild MP

Clothes stores can reopen although I know that the rules requiring items that have been tried on be put aside for 72 hours will be challenging for smaller outlets.

For hospitality, leisure, and others the recovery plan timetable of reopening from 4 July subject to the tests appears to remain although I am pressing ministers for things to reopen safely sooner.

Firms continue to ask about the 2 metre rule as it is a big factor in viability. Government understands this so it is being reviewed regularly.

A generous package of financial support has helped businesses during lockdown. But some firms fell through the cracks. A new discretionary grant scheme run by the borough council for businesses that haven’t qualified for earlier support is now live.

If you are a SME in a shared space, pub, hotel, B&B, day nursery, charity premise, leisure business, market trader or fairground business you may be eligible – check on the council’s website.

As we slowly reopen the economy, it’s important to remember that our efforts so far have helped protect the NHS. QEH has been on the frontline and the staff have shown huge dedication in the most challenging circumstances.

I’m sure like me many of you saw the video of Suzie Vaughan reunited with her daughters after nine weeks apart – a reminder of the sacrifices so many frontline workers have made.

This week QEH published its new five-year strategy focused on quality, engagement, and healthy lives. It is an ambitious plan to take the hospital from being rated inadequate, to good, and then ultimately have an outstanding CQC rating by 2025.

I welcome the aims to improve care for patients and strengthen staff engagement and will continue to play my part in supporting Team QEH.

One of the benefits of Parliament being back is the opportunity to talk to ministers albeit at a social distance.

One of my first conversations was with the Housing Minister on ending rough-sleeping and I was pleased that Purfleet Trust received £59,600 as part of 130 charities getting funding to tackle homelessness during coronavirus and beyond.

This will support their important work to help people turn their lives around.

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