Council updates following latest government covid announcements

Cllr martin hill

Following the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcements today setting out how covid restrictions will be gradually eased in the coming months, Cllr Martin Hill responds.

Cllr Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: "The Prime Minister has taken a cautious approach to allow people to start to return to more normal activities, while closely monitoring the benefits of the vaccine rollout and case numbers. None of us want to see any further lockdowns or restrictions being re-imposed again, so it's important that we take this one step at a time.

"It looks like most council services will continue to operate as they are doing currently for the foreseeable future, but we look forward to being able to re start or re-open services such as our heritage sites, libraries and children's centres, when the time is right.

"Infection rates in Lincolnshire remain low and the vaccination rollout continues at pace. But we mustn't be complacent at this critical time and undo all the good work. Remember to keep to the hands, face, space guidelines to keep yourself and others safe. If you have symptoms book a test and don't forget to take advantage of the community testing programmes we have provided around the county."

Today's announcements mean the earliest many indoor leisure and entertainment venues could open, would be 17 May.

Cllr Colin Davie, executive councillor for economy, said: "With the government's roadmap today setting out the earliest dates for businesses re-opening, it's clear that much of the hospitality and leisure sector that have already suffered so much from the covid restrictions, will be some of the last to re-open fully.

"This makes me even more certain that the £12m we have allocated as a council to support our local economy is the absolute right thing to do. I'd urge those businesses that haven't had any government support to date to apply to our business recovery fund on our website from Tuesday 23 February.

"We are also launching grants in the coming weeks to support businesses to improve their digitalisation, grow and expand their operations and a scheme specifically for those in rural economies."

Find out more information on the grant funding available

The Prime Minister confirmed that both primary and secondary pupils will return to school from 8 March.

Cllr Patricia Bradwell, executive councillor for children's services, said: "Being in class with their teachers undoubtedly is the best place for pupils to learn and being with their friends is also important for their social development and mental health. So we're pleased to see the government making the return to school its top priority. 

"Schools used a range of measures during the autumn term to successfully reduce the potential spread of the virus, and infection levels are currently much lower than they were at that time and dropping. Hopefully, that will give parents confidence that it's safe for the children to return. 

"The pandemic has had a major impact on pupils' learning and it's important we do all we can to help them catch up."

For more information about ongoing changes to council services visitwww.lincolnshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Published: 22nd February 2021