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As Restrictions Relax, It’s Time to Get Guildford Going Again, Say Leaders

Published on: 11 May, 2021
Updated on: 11 May, 2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving his briefing on the relaxation of lockdown rules

By Martin Giles

Guildford’s leaders have welcomed the Prime Minister’s briefing yesterday (May 11) on the cautious relaxation of the Covid lockdown.

From next Monday, drinks and meals will be allowed inside pubs and restaurants, we can make overnight stays in B&Bs and hotels, and cinemas, theatres and museums can reopen. Schoolchildren will no longer have to wear masks and care home residents can have up to five visitors.

With the reassuring news of no Covid-associated deaths in the 24 hours preceding the announcement, scientific advisers are more optimistic about avoiding a “third wave” while stressing the need for continued caution.

And, for the first time in 14 months, we can hug family and friends again.

Angela Richardson MP for Guildford

Guildford’s Conservative MP, Angela Richardson, said: “Every step towards normality is a positive for the people of Guildford whether they own a business, work in our economy or simply live here and want to be able to enjoy the benefits with as few restrictions as possible.

“I’m delighted the government is trusting people to use their common sense. I know Guildford and Waverley residents will, so it’s really important we continue with the progress we’ve made.

“The person I’m most looking forward to hugging is my mother-in-law. She’s been on her own for most of the past 15 months and the last time any of her family hugged her was Christmas 2019.”

Cllr Joss Bigmore

Council leader Joss Bigmore added: “This is fantastic news. I’m grateful for everyone who has made the sacrifices necessary to ensure we can continue to relax restrictions and gradually return to normality.

“We have already seen our High Street busy and lots of people enjoying al fresco dining despite the unseasonable weather, and Monday allows these businesses more freedom.

“Please support our local business because many of them have supported us through this pandemic and now we need to help them recover from the economic trauma of the past year.

“As for hugging, besides my wife Holly and my kids, the first person I normally see on a Monday morning is GBC’s managing director James Whiteman, so he’d better watch out.”

Amanda Masters

Amanda Masters, of Experience Guildford, said: “The relaxation of restrictions is vital to the support of the town economy. If we stick to the rules now we could see the reopening of more businesses in late June.

“All retail and leisure has been hit hard by this pandemic, but judging by the footfall since the reopening of the non-essential retailers on April 12, people have missed being in their town.

“That businesses are taking every precaution to keep customers safe is obvious and they are all so pleased to be able to welcome people back.

“Still, we must all be responsible and act with caution; the pandemic hasn’t gone away. But hopefully, with a clear end in sight and in an environment where people can again enjoy a dinner or the theatre, as well as shopping for their summer wardrobe, Guildford is set to rewake as Surrey liveliest town.

“I think we will see further changes. People’s values have changed during lockdown. Space, community and health and wellbeing are more important now. So our town needs to evolve to cater for this altered perspective. Guildford is well-placed to do just that.

“And I can’t wait to see my parents for a hug.”

Joanna Read

Joanna Read, director of the Yvonne Arnaud, is excited about reopening. “This is a first step to getting the theatre back on track after an extremely difficult year,” she said.

“We look forward to welcoming our audiences to our own production of The Hound of The Baskervilles on June 3 for a laughter-filled evening and to celebrate live theatre in Guildford again.

“We will be operating a socially-distanced capacity at first and taking all necessary precautions to ensure people enjoy their theatre-going safely.

“Our café will be open from May 17 for drinks and snacks, so pop in for a chat and catch up with friends. It’s time to get Guildford going again.”

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Responses to As Restrictions Relax, It’s Time to Get Guildford Going Again, Say Leaders

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    May 11, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Let’s hope gently, gently does not catch the Covid monkey.

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