Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie says the coming months will be long ones for the district's businesses and entrepreneurs, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap announcement.
A four-stage plan could see England’s coronavirus restrictions finally lifted by June 21, Boris Johnson announced yesterday.
In the first phase, all pupils in England’s schools are expected to return to class from March 8.
A further easing of restrictions will take place on March 29 when the school Easter holidays begin – with larger groups of up to six people or two households allowed to gather in parks and gardens.
Hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will not be allowed to reopen until April 12, the Government’s road map said.
By May 17, the government hopes to see the return of the rule of 6 indoors, indoor hospitality including pubs, gyms and outdoor sport, and allowing spectators to return to sport stadiums with a 10,000 limit.
Nightclubs and any other remaining sectors will not return until June 21 at the very earliest with the hope for no more limits on social contact.
There is “no credible route to a zero-Covid Britain nor indeed a zero-Covid world”, Boris Johnson said as he admitted any lifting of lockdown restrictions would lead to more cases and deaths.
Boris Johnson said the road map will “guide us cautiously but irreversibly towards reclaiming our freedoms”.
Ms Baillie said: "I fully understand the Prime Minister’s caution in announcing this road map out of lockdown.
“There is much to be optimistic about - especially the vaccination programme and initial research showing the jabs cut transmission and serious illness. However, I accept there are still challenges around ensuring as many as possible receive a vaccination in the months to come and real concerns around new Covid variants.
“The road map has certainly given clarity to important sectors in Stroud, such as hospitality, tourism and our wedding industry as long as the tests are met at each stage. But I do know these will be long months for these businesses and entrepreneurs who have suffered throughout the pandemic.
“My heart would like to see a faster pace for ending lockdown but my head knows the government’s cautious plan is the right way forward right now given the careful balancing act that is required for the country.
“A real plus is schools reopening in two weeks and the Prime Minister’s renewed commitment to financially supporting businesses and those on furlough while the pandemic continues.
“I will continue to help and support all my constituents, stand up for Stroud and make sure concerns are listened to by ministers.”