Let's work together so we can have the wonderful rest of summer we all deserve
When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the remaining coronavirus restrictions would be in place for an additional four weeks it was not a surprise.
Reports of so-called “freedom day” being postponed had been trickling in for days.
That combined with research from public health experts, which found that those infected with the Delta variant, first idenitified in India, were 85% more likely to be admitted to hospital than those with the Alpha variant, first detected in Kent, meant the writing was very much on the wall.
Even so, it has come as a crushing blow to Sheffield business owners, many of whom have been desperately holding on for dear life as they have weathered months of closure and the cost of making the necessary alterations to make their premises Covid-secure.
The owners of Tank Nightclub, on Arundel Gate, in the city centre, said they were left ‘heartbroken’ by the latest announcement, which confirmed that restrictions will not be lifted until at least July 19.
Nightclubs like Tank will only be able to open once all restrictions are lifted.
The delay has also resulted in many being forced to postpone or cancel their weddings, and means hospitality venues will have to continue offering table service for another month – at great cost to them.
It’s easy to see why so many are completely fed up after enduring an incredibly difficult 16 months, only to hear that the remaining Covid restrictions are to continue for another month just when we thought we had reached the finish line.
But we must not lose heart now.
The UK’s successful Covid vaccination programme is going to be ramped up in response to the comparatively high transmissability of the Delta variant, with the second dose of the jab to be accelerated among the over-40s and over-18s invited to book their first one.
The very last thing any of us want, or need, is the threat of an avoidable fourth lockdown looming over us like the Sword of Damocles.
It is much better for Sheffield’s businesses and communities to have another four weeks of loose lockdown than to be thrusted into another complete shutdown.
So let’s tough it out for another month and work together so we can have the wonderful and restrictionless rest of summer we all deserve.