Plea to use 'common sense' as Covid-19 restrictions ease again
- Credit: Archant
People have been urged to use common sense and enjoy regained freedoms safely as more coronavirus restrictions are eased from today.
As of today, pubs and restaurants can serve customers indoors – and indoor entertainment venues, such as cinemas and museums, can also open.
People can also mix in homes, so long as they stick to two households or the 'rule of six'.
Infection rates in the county remain mostly below the England average, with all areas other than West Suffolk recording a rate lower than 20 cases per 100,000.
Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich – who has worked on the coronavirus frontline throughout the pandemic – said people should work together to ensure gains made so far are not lost.
Dr Poulter said: "Of course it is good to go into spring and summer with greater freedoms, but it is important to remember we are still in the midst of a pandemic and this virus is still with us.
"People in Suffolk have been very good at following the rules, so it is important we don't lose the progress we have made by letting our guards down too quickly.
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"The vast majority of people in Suffolk have been good and recognise that this is a particularly nasty virus that can have very unpleasant consequences for them and their family."
His words were heeded by Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, who said it is important people practise "common sense" so the government can keep to its roadmap.
Mr Hunt said: "I know some people would like us to move forward more quickly, but the roadmap is working and gives us the time to get a real indication of how things are going.
"We do need to carry on following the rules – we have a great vaccination programme which in turn will help stop new variants developing through transmission.
"Now isn't the time for people to go wild.
"We should be feeling good about things and while I am sure Monday will be a fantastic day, cautious optimism is definitely the term.
"Using our common sense and sticking to the rules is really important."
Both MPs said it is important to respect people's boundaries with the return of hugging and understand that some older and more vulnerable members of the community may face anxiety.
Dr Poulter said: "It is important we respect people's personal decisions should they like to move forward more slowly.
"Ultimately, people will be cautious. It is going to be quite a change for people to return to a greater sense of normality."
In terms of the so-called Indian variant, which the prime minister has admitted could affect the roadmap, both MPs also raised concerns.
Dr Poulter said: "I am concerned – with any new variant it takes time to understand how infectious it is and the effectiveness – or ineffectiveness – of the vaccine against it.
"It is important we recognise that measures like washing our hands, wearing face masks and keeping our distance may be necessary again in future help to manage these spikes of the virus when they occur."