This week the national lockdown has ended and Swindon and Wiltshire has been placed into the Tier 2 “high alert” restrictions.
I know many people will have been surprised and even disappointed when the Government outlined the Tier plans last week, but it is clear that we need to remain cautious if we want to keep the number of Covid cases under control.
The new rules we will now need to adhere to include not meeting other households indoors, sticking to the rule of six when outdoors and avoiding travel outside the area unless necessary.
Innovatove ideas for keeping safe
I appreciate that all of this will mean the run up to Christmas will be very different to normal, with certain traditions and social gatherings now impossible.
But, we have to stay focused on the bigger picture and accept that we need to find new, safer ways of doing things.
It is heartwarming to see the innovative ideas people are coming up with – whether that is school nativities via video link, advent window displays or virtual Christmas parties.
We must do all we can to retain that social contact, which is particularly important for those who may be feeling vulnerable or isolated.
Keep Christmas kind
This week has also seen the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners running a Keeping Christmas Kind campaign.
It has been organised in response to concerns raised by the retail industry about an increase in abuse and even violence towards shop workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not only do we need to make it clear that these actions will not be tolerated, encouraging businesses to report incidents to the police.
But, it is also important to take a moment to reflect on all those who have kept the world turning during this strange 2020.
The role of those working within the NHS, and those from the emergency services, has been well publicised and it is only right that their dedication is acknowledged.
However, the retail sector has also faced a challenging and tumultuous year.
Non-essential shops have been forced to close for long periods of time, causing financial uncertainty, while those working in supermarkets, newsagents and takeaway outlets (to name just a few) have continued to go out to work, potentially putting themselves at risk of the virus.
We have all faced unprecedented challenges and community spirit has been key in helping us all get through this.
So, we all need to show a little kindness this Christmas. A smile, a thank you, a Christmas card through a neighbour’s front door – all of this will go a very long way as we approach the end of a difficult year.