Remain vigilant, keep being careful, continue to stay alert

Employers and workers throughout Crawley will be preparing this week to reopen their businesses on 4th July, as part of further changes to lockdown measures in England.

The people of this country have risen to the challenge of defeating COVID-19. We must remain vigilant, we must keep being careful, and we must continue to stay alert.

The Prime Minister has outlined changes to lockdown rules. This will mean that people will be able to see more of their friends and family, support local businesses, and return to work.

In Crawley, the reopening of the tourism sector will provide a boost for up to 370 local businesses.

This is, of course, a careful process. Many of us will want to go out, in a socially distanced manner to support some of the local firms which would have undoubtedly found the last few months incredibly difficult.

From this weekend, pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines, and some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen if they can do so safely.

Places of worship, community centres, libraries and social clubs are also able to reopen shortly.

Some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also open their doors if they can do so safely; these include outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades.

I fully appreciate that there is more to do; and that there are more businesses which are still to reopen. While ‘close proximity’ venues are remaining closed for now, I welcome the Government continuing to work with these sectors and establishing task forces to help them to become COVID Secure and reopen as soon as possible.

The Culture Secretary has confirmed that the Government’s aspiration, subject to public health, is to reopen gyms and leisure facilities in the coming weeks.

None of this, of course, would be possible without the hard work and dedication of NHS and key workers. We know that while many firms will soon be reopening, NHS and key workers will continue to serve our community. As a town we not only thank them, but for my part as Crawley MP I continue to represent their views to ministers.

While the infection rate is falling, the message is clear that everyone should observe social distancing guidelines to keep COVID-19 under control. We must continue washing our hands and mitigating the risks at 1 metre/3 feet where not – the ‘one metre plus’ rule.

All measures will be kept under review, and will be paused or reversed if this becomes what is needed to defeat coronavirus.

Henry Smith MP