From tomorrow, we will see a further easing of lockdown restrictions in our hospitality, leisure and retail sectors, which are vital to the livelihoods of many in our community.

However, this is not risk-free move and it is crucial that the action taken is phased, managed, carefully planned and properly communicated.

Our excellent local businesses have spent much time and money preparing to operate under the new rules. As we see customers return, I hope the Government continues to give additional support to them where necessary, and stick to its commitment to provide “whatever it takes”.

The Government is also increasingly passing responsibilities for managing the pandemic down to a local level, but here their messages are confused and many businesses and constituents are understandably asking when their businesses and groups can undertake activities.

I have been working alongside St Helens Council, to support businesses and help them prepare. I know a lot of hard work is being undertaken to ensure social distancing can be retained when outlets reopen, and I want to thank local business hubs and St Helens Chamber, alongside council officers, for providing valuable support and advice on how to both meet the new requirements and to plan for the future.

Coming out of lockdown brings with it many challenges, but if we all continue to act with caution and follow the advice to prevent the spread of infection, we will hopefully see life slowly return to normal.

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