Leek Mayor Stephen Wales
We have all witnessed the effect of nature on the world’s population from a microscopic virus that would fit almost a thousand times across the width of a human hair. It is a fact that soap and regular washing destroys the virus completely. So, this simple action should by now have become a regular feature of our daily lives especially whenever we are out of our homes and always before touching our faces.
I am sure we are all fed up with Covid and its devastating effect on families, jobs, and our quality of life. The light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight as the various vaccines are coming on stream in December and into the New Year. The vaccine will protect those on the front line in the Health and Care sectors and those most at risk starting with the elderly. Eventually we will see most people protected however this will take time and as such we should remain on our guard.
The wrecking ball of Covid has exposed the fragility of some business models during this time of stress and has destroyed many jobs in the process. The vaccine being deployed during 2021 will bring some stability and an opportunity to get on with the job of rebuilding our lives and our economy. The high street and hospitality sectors have borne the brunt of the last 8 months -some shops have been able to open -whilst others have been constrained. Its certainly been a time for the supermarkets and those retail giants with a strong online presence to grab even more market share. Now, we see more of our own local shops opening an online service and Click and Collect options. Many local restaurants and cafes are offering takeaway or a delivery service and we should support them at every opportunity.
These are our friends and neighbour’s jobs and many locally owned businesses that have served the town and outlying villages for many years -please direct your Christmas spend into these local shops and markets. Shopping locally is the key to keeping our towns unique identity and holding on to our sense of community.
Christmas is almost upon us, naturally the usual festivities and time with families and friends will be affected by the various restrictions in place across the UK. We are currently in Tier 3 and that may be changed for better or worse. The need to be together at this most special time must be weighed against the potential risks it will bring. This will be known as the ‘Christmas Conversation’ and it is worth listening to the science and not the false bravado as you make your choices.
As if the Covid story swirling around us was not enough we now also have Brexit looming. The final negotiations and political manoeuvring are reported daily. I predict that whatever happens it will be declared a victory. This decision to shift our nations place in Europe was one that divided us. This break is now going to happen at a time when more than ever we need to pull together both nationally and internationally. We are all European -and borders and frontiers cannot change that fact. My new blue UK passport arrived today – and I cannot wait to use it again to travel freely for pleasure. I believe that post Covid – far from restricting travel -all nations will be hungry for the tourist dollar and the valuable boost to their economies it brings.
So, as we approach Christmas let us all do so with a sense of optimism and hope that we will soon return to a world where we can laugh, love and live life to the full once again.