As another year draws to a close and the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest, I am sure we can all agree on one thing: 2020 has been a year like no other.
Our fight to stop the spread of Covid 19 has dominated this year and I appreciate that it has lasted a lot longer than many anticipated. The recent announcements of progress on vaccines are however very welcome, and I’m sure you will join me in paying tribute to all the scientists and researchers at various companies who have spent a great deal of time and effort in trying to help us.
Though our country has become much better equipped to deal with Covid as we have learned more about the virus, with increased hospital capacity, better treatments and enhanced testing capabilities, we should remember that we are not out of the woods yet. The way we would usually celebrate Christmas and New Year will be different for many of us this year, and even though there will be a slight relaxing of restrictions for five days to allow families to be together, it is important that we adhere to social distancing wherever possible. We have made progress on getting the recent surge in Covid under control during the past few weeks and I believe we should not undo those gains after the sacrifices we have made.
I also understand how frustrating the recent announcement was of Dudley and Sandwell being placed into Tier 3, but these tiers are due to be reviewed again on December 16th and thereafter every two weeks. Again, if we pull together to follow the rules I hope that both boroughs will be able to move back down the tiering system.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for the efforts made this year, in the fight against Covid everyone has had a part to play. Whether that is our NHS staff on the front line, whose work will have helped to save some lives from the virus, or other key workers who have kept essential services going, to those who have cancelled social opportunities and stayed at home wherever possible, and of course those who have given their time voluntarily to help support those most in need. This crisis has brought out the best in many people and I hope that our community spirit will endure when life gets back to normal.
Finally, I would like to end by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. However, wherever and with whomever you are spending the festive period, I hope that everyone will have a chance to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones, and that 2021 is a more positive year for us all.
This article first appeared in the Halesowen News on 3rd December 2020.