Robert's Weekly Column - 13th May 2020

On Monday the Government published detailed guidance on its Covid-19 recovery strategy. I would encourage everyone to read the full document, which can be accessed via: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-rebuild-the-uk-governments-covid-19-recovery-strategy.

There will be no quick return to ‘normality’, but by staying alert, we can control the virus by keeping the rate of infection (R) and the number of infections down. A number of residents have already been in touch with me about the guidance and the planned timetable for lifting certain lockdown measures, so in this article I will highlight some of the changes being made to work, travel and the use of public spaces.

 For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible. All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and nonessential retail which the Government is requiring to remain closed.

It is important that workplaces should follow the new ‘Covid-19 Secure’ guidelines, which will ensure the risk of infection is as low as possible, while allowing as many people as possible to resume their livelihoods.

It remains the cases that anyone with symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work. Those people should self-isolate, as should those in their household.

When travelling everybody should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. If they can, people should instead choose to cycle, walk or drive, to minimise the number of people with whom they come into close contact.

The Government has been advised by SAGE that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, so we are updating the rules so that, as well as exercise, people can now spend time outdoors subject to: not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household; continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two meters away from people outside your household; and maintaining good hand hygiene. People may drive to outdoor spaces irrespective of distance.

As always, if you have any specific questions about the Government’s updated guidance, please get in touch with me via Robert.buckland.mp@parliament.uk.

Last Friday we marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Whilst it was a shame that the country was unable to celebrate the day with any form of mass gatherings, it was fantastic to see so many residents marking the day in their own way. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading through the stories of family members or loved ones who served during the Second World War which residents posted on my Facebook page.

I was lucky enough thanks to the Royal British Legion to have had the opportunity to talk over the phone with veteran Mr Richard Aldred, who is now 95. Mr Aldred served with the Tank Regiment in Normandy, through Belgium and Holland and into Germany. I rang to thank him and to talk about his service during the conflict. The values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law were the basis of our resistance and ultimate victory against Nazi Germany and we will be forever thankful to veterans like Mr Aldred for the world we live in today.