Delay to 'freedom' day will allow more people to get the Covid-19 vaccine
We will all have to wait a little while longer for our ‘freedom’ as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced he is delaying the lifting of the final stages of lockdown restrictions until July 19 amid rising Covid-19 numbers.
During a media conference on Monday, June 14, Mr Johnson said rising coronavirus numbers elsewhere in the country were an early warning sign for the rest of the UK and that the delay would allow millions more to be vaccinated, while monitoring the data on the new Delta (Indian) variant.
Mr Johnson also confirmed 23 and 24-year-olds are now invited to get their vaccination, as the government attempts to bring forward its plans to give every adult in the UK their first dose by July 19. Second doses for the over 40s will also be brought forward.
The leader of West Lindsey District Council, Coun Owen Bierley, says he is not surprised by the decision.
He said: “I fully understand that many people and businesses will be disappointed at this delay to the final step of easing restrictions.
"However, with the slight increase in cases and the new Delta variant it is not surprising to me that the Government has extended the deadline.
"With the lovely hot weather we have had recently we all want our economy to be opened up more to attract people to our district.
“In the meantime, we have secured the support of Clare Bailey, a Lincolnshire-based independent business advisor, to help businesses to navigate their way through the current situation.
"We also have a discount offer for businesses to in the Federation of Small Businesses, details and contact details are available at www.west-lindsey.gov.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-support-for-businesses/local-support-and-advice/#an-support-for-retailers
“This short delay in the roadmap will allow more people to get vaccinated. I would urge everyone to get vaccinated when you are offered it and please keep following the advice, hands, face, space and regular lateral flow testing to reassure relatives, friends and colleagues.”
The move will mean pubs remain restricted to table service for groups of six, theatres and indoor venues restricted to 50 per cent capacity, nightclubs remaining closed and the guidance to work from home staying in place.
However weddings and wakes will now be able to go ahead with more than 30 guests as long as social distancing measures were in place and some pilot events such as Euro 2020 and some theatrical performances will also still go ahead.
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: "None of us want to see any further lockdowns or restrictions being re-imposed. But people have had to endure so much they want to see a return to normality as soon as possible.
"In Lincolnshire our rates of infection are still low but are starting to rise as the Delta variant begins to spread from other areas of the country.
"At least the delay will allow all adults to be offered at least one dose of a vaccination by next month. This will help to counter the threat of the Delta variant and the increase in infection rate, ensuring that as many people as possible are protected before we move to step 4.