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Statement from Leader of South Kesteven District Council,  Cllr Kelham Cooke

The Prime Minister has announced the first easing of the country's Coronavirus lockdown and outlined the Government's road map for further lifting of restrictions over the coming months.

Speaking to the nation he said the starting point for his conditional plan to reopen society was getting people back to work and allowing unlimited outdoor exercise.

He stressed that it was not the time to lift the lockdown in its entirety because of the risk of a second peak, but that small steps could be taken dependent on sustained falls in infections and deaths. Below are the three phases outlined by the Prime Minister.

Phase 1

Unlimited outdoor exercise. You can sit in the sun in your local park, drive to other destinations and even play sports but only with members of your own household.

Those who cannot work from home are being actively encouraged to go back to work after Wednesday, such as those in construction or manufacturing industries, and if possible to do so by car or even better by walking or cycling.  

People are advised to wear face coverings on public transport and in shops where it is not possible to social distance. You may meet one person outside of your household provided it is outdoors.

Phase 2

A phased reopening in June of non-essential shops and a staged return of nurseries and primary school pupils beginning with reception, year 1 and year 6.

Sports and cultural events could be held behind closed doors for broadcast, and venues could start facilitating small weddings.

Phase 3

Some of the hospitality sector could start to re-open in July as well as other remaining non-essential businesses, where it is safe, including hairdressers, beauty salons, leisure facilities and cinemas.

It is vitally important that everyone continues to follow Government guidance and observe the rules on social distancing.

We have accomplished a great deal since the lockdown began on 23 March. By working together, we continue to achieve our three priorities of: protecting the health of our staff, our members, and our residents; maintaining our critical services; and supporting our local businesses.

We have done this by working together at a community level, following Government guidance. As the Prime Minister has said, we must move to the next phase slowly, carefully and conditionally, taking small steps to reopen society and reopen the economy.

The Government's conditional plan is dependent upon keeping the rate of infection below 1. This will be constantly monitored, and we will continue to work with our partners locally, regionally and nationally to ensure that we respond rapidly to any changes.

I am genuinely humbled and grateful for the amazing support from our staff, members, community groups, and the army of volunteers who continue to ensure that our most vulnerable are protected and looked after. Because of your efforts, we will come through this with courage and co-operation, and be all the stronger for it.

Keep well and stay safe.

Cllr Kelham Cooke 

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