Date Published: 11 March 2021
This week saw Rutland take its first steps along the road that will eventually lead out of lockdown.
As a parent, it’s been hugely encouraging to see children and young people returning to school and I hope that families and teachers have faced the challenge of mass home learning for a final time. I know from my own experiences over the past year that children will take a while to settle back into their normal routine. What’s important now is that they’re given the time, space and support they need to find their feet and enjoy learning with friends again.
The government’s roadmap for ending lockdown sets a number of tests that must be met at various stages before they will ease COVID restrictions any further. As a result, it won’t be until 29 March, at the earliest, that people can go back to meeting in groups of six and outdoor sport and leisure can recommence. In that time and for many weeks afterwards, it will still be necessary to maintain social distancing, wear masks and follow the various other safety measures that are needed to keep COVID in check. Even those of us who have had vaccinations are not immune from catching and spreading the virus.
As a County, we’re preparing to mark one year since the first lockdown began on 23 March 2020. In doing so, we’ll be thanking all those involved in Rutland’s pandemic response so far – from key workers and volunteers to community groups and the NHS. Neither the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the one-year commemorations to come, or the growing number of people receiving their COVID vaccine should lead us to believe the pandemic is somehow over. On the contrary, these milestones need to serve as a reminder of everything we’ve worked hard to achieve, and what we stand to lose if we become careless. We must all act responsibly, in-line with the changing guidance.
The possibility of an end to lockdown, albeit with conditions that must be met, naturally draws attention to the future and what lies ahead. This is something that we, as a Council, are increasingly mindful of and why we’re about to start a conversation with everyone who lives and works in Rutland – to understand what you value about life here and what your expectations are for yourself, your family and for future generations. In a changing world that’s been reshaped by COVID, this will be important to develop a shared vision for our County, as well as future policies and strategies that will help us to support you, as residents. I look forward to sharing more details about this in the coming weeks.
Councillor Oliver Hemsley
Leader of Rutland County Council