Another step in easing restrictions | Antony Higginbotham

Monday this week saw the next step of the Prime Minister’s cautious roadmap come into effect, allowing meetings of up to six people, or two households, in outdoor spaces, including home gardens across Burnley and Padiham.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 12:30 pm

And given the sunny weather that we have had I know that many will have used the opportunity to meet up in one of our brilliant parks or sit outside with friends and family soaking up the sun.

We all know the last year has been tough, and at times frustrating, and that’s why the roadmap is so important.

Under that we’ve also seen the return of golf, outdoor tennis and grassroot football which will no doubt be great for local teams and sport lovers, who for months have put aside their desire to get out in order to stop the spread of Covid and protect the vulnerable.

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham
Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

And in just a few days’ time, on April 12th, I know we are all looking forward to getting our hair cut, seeing the shops re-open, going to the gym, and enjoying a drink outside.

With each passing day we are moving closer to defeating this awful virus, allowing us to re-open up our economy more and more, and get on with the things that matter in our lives; relationships, friendships and family.

The successful vaccine rollout is and will remain crucial in our roadmap to easing restrictions and whilst on a national level we are leading the way on the world stage; here too locally we

have made huge strides.

As I write this the number of people in Burnley and Padiham that have received their first dose of the vaccine stands at over 33,000; or around half of the adult population of our borough.

To say we have just entered April it’s a phenomenal achievement and every single person involved should be proud of themselves.

Equally important is the testing sites that are operational across Burnley which I’ve had the opportunity to visit myself.

Manned by volunteers they too are playing a role in our fight to stop the spread of Covid.

The rapid tests, on offer for those who need to go into work, give results within 20 minutes.

I’ve used these myself, both in Burnley and Westminster, and they are a crucial tool in our arsenal to isolate the disease before it has the chance to spread.

All of this is cause for optimism, but for the next few months at least, caution will still be needed.

Covid-19 is still in circulation which does mean we must all remain vigilant; washing our hands, keeping space between others, wearing masks when indoors.

A lot has been said about the speed at which we are moving; some edge on the side of even more caution, others wish to see us move faster; but I know from conversations with the

Chief Medical Officer and the Prime Minister that we are following the data and, importantly, it is working.

Because whilst we all ultimately want to get back to a position of normality it’s vital we move in a way which is not going to jeopardise our progress or undue all the sacrifices residents in Burnley and Padiham have made over the past few months.

The end is now in sight and our roadmap to easing restrictions needs to be irreversible.

Finally I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a wonderful Easter weekend.

I just hope the weather stays as it has at the start of the week!