Lifting Lincolnshire coronavirus lockdown: County Council Leader backs Boris’ move to drop restrictions from July 19

The Leader of Lincolnshire County Council has backed the Prime Minister’s announcement that England should be moving to Step 4 of the Covid roadmap and out of lockdown on July 19, despite misgivings from some health experts.

Councillor Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council EMN-210615-081728001
Councillor Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council EMN-210615-081728001

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is confident enough to go ahead with relaxing a majority of coronavirus restrictions later this month.

During a press conference on Monday evening, Mr Johnson said people would have to learn to live with the virus like the flu.

Coun Martin Hill said: “I know the majority of people will join me in looking forward to July 19 with relief and optimism that our lives can start to return to normal.

“I agree with the prime minister that we need to move to a phase where we can manage covid in a sensible way that will mean we can start to restore our businesses, who have suffered so much during this pandemic.

“If we don’t take this summer window of opportunity to relax the current severe restrictions, we will probably have to endure them until next year.

“We must understand that infection rates will increase and the virus has not been eradicated. We should all continue to be careful as individuals to help prevent this disease spreading but we need to face the reality this cannot be at the on-going cost of livelihoods, mental health and education.”

He added: “Hospitalisations and deaths remain low in Lincolnshire. The vaccine roll-out continues at pace – so far over a million vaccines have been given in the county - and I urge people to take up both doses to protect themselves and to reduce the transmission of the disease.

“Covid-19 will leave a legacy in all of our lives so lifting restrictions should ensure that the negative impacts start to come to an end. I hope though too that it can leave us with a reminder of the kindness people have shown to others, the support given to local businesses when they’ve needed it most and our resilience to get through these difficult times.”

The Prime Minister had predicted: “Our expectation remains that by July, 19, every adult will have had the chance to receive a first dose, and two thirds will have received their second dose [of a COVID vaccine],” he said, commenting that the pandemic was “far from over” and some 50,000 daily cases were predicted by July 19.

“We have to balance the risks of the disease – which the vaccines have reduced, but very far from eliminated – and the risks of continuing with legally enforced restrictions that inevitably take their toll on people’s lives and livelihoods, on people’s health and mental health.

“We must be honest with ourselves that if we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks – when we will be helped by the arrival of summer, and by the school holidays – then we must ask ourselves, when will we be able to return to normal?”

The changes include:

○ The end of one metre-plus social distancing

○ No need to to wear masks indoors, in shops and on public transport. Wearing masks would instead be a personal choice, depending on the circumstances

○ The limits on visitors to care homes will be lifted

○ The legal limits on people meeting indoors and outdoors will be removed

○ All businesses will be allowed to reopen, including night clubs

○ The request to work from home where possible will also be scrapped

○ No COVID certificate will be required to enter any venue or event – though businesses may choose to require some way to show COVID status

However, self-isolation, restrictions on travel and rules governing how schools react to positive cases will not yet end.

The measures come as the UK reports 37,334 new coronavirus cases, but just nine deaths across the country.

The government’s COVID-19 dashboard on Monday reported 215 new cases in Lincolnshire, 182 in North East Lincolnshire and 66 in North Lincolnshire.

However, data from the government’s science and health leaders showed that while cases were going up, the link between the rise and hospitalisations and deaths was “weakened” – though “not completely broken”.

The final stage of the prime minister’s COVID-19 roadmap was delayed by a month in June, due to rising case numbers. At the time the government said the move would give every adult in England the chance to get vaccinated.

It meant certain business were still unable to reopen, including nightclubs, while theatres and cinemas were left to struggle with capacity limits.