So this week we have had some limited lifting of lockdown measures by the Prime Minister and I’m sure many people will be relieved we are perhaps reaching the end of this first phase of the coronavirus pandemic. There is an end in sight and other countries have trod this path before us. The reopening of schools in Denmark is a good point in question. There's a window on their experience here
Garden centres have opened, some sports such as golf and tennis, can now take place. More recreational activities are permitted within a family. It’s a cautious start. I fear notwithstanding the creativity of the person responsible for the re branding in the photo above (!) pubs and restaurants will be in the last wave.
The government’s job retention, or furlough, scheme has been extended until October (details below) which is a huge relief in many quarters, combined with a new expectation and understanding that some businesses need to bring some employees back on a part-time basis.
It is progress. It's also a dangerous and delicate time even though infection rates and deaths are falling. We must do all we can to avoid a second wave of this virus and that means we must also keep to social distancing guidelines too and soon, through track and trace.
That much I think we can all agree on but there is no doubt some have very definite - but opposing - views around what the government should do in this sensitive phase as we endeavour to move towards recovery and move we must - on multiple levels, the lockdown has come at a great personal cost to many and to the country.
Some who write to me make the case for an immediate lifting of restrictions, others remain very fearful for themselves and their families and are anxious about any easing.
I understand both of these views.
Move too fast, and infection rates will go up and people – many of them vulnerable - will die. Move too slowly and diagnoses of illnesses like cancer will not happen - costing lives that could have been saved. There is no easy answer other than to tread carefully and stay focused on the medical advice.
In essence, the right way here is the middle way and that's what the government is doing.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have worked throughout this period to keep the lights on and to pay tribute to our new army of volunteers, with a special mention this week for Box Full of Rainbows, and to the ingenuity and resilience of many local entrepreneurs who are even now mobilising and adapting to bounce back. There’s going to be a great deal of rebuilding work to do from here on in, but we can do anything, if we do it together.