The further relaxation of the lockdown measures which come into force this week will bring some welcome relief to many businesses. Many of those which are currently closed will reopen on the 4th July, including: pubs, restaurants and hairdressers. The past few months have been really tough for most businesses and I fear that many may fold, resulting in the loss of a large number of jobs. I believe that it was right to put health first, we know that the risks of catching CV-19 are not over yet, as evidenced by the spike in cases in Leicester, which has taken that city back into another 14 days of lockdown. So, whilst I am sure that we will do what we can to support our local businesses, it remains important to be careful and continue to observe the Government guidelines. I have been very impressed by the quality standard scheme, supported by Trading Standards, that our local businesses have been developing and which should soon appear in the windows of those that have self-assessed to be taking all necessary precautions, to avoid transmission of the disease. The Council will be supporting this, as it will help to give confidence about where it is safe to shop.
I am far less impressed by the decision of the County Council to introduce large increases in parking charges this week. It is so important that Councils do what they can to assist the recovery of our local economy, so I would urge them to rethink and at least delay these increases, until businesses have had the chance to get back on their feet.
Sadly, it looks like the scammers are still around. I was contacted by a local resident this week who told me that she had an unsolicited phone call, from someone claiming to be from an energy and loft insulation company, in Oxfordshire. They asked questions about her home and told her that she needs work done to the roof, in order to prevent dampness. Having then asked if she was the person who made decisions relating to the property, asked if they could call around on Monday. Fortunately, she refused to let them, as she was certain that this was a scam. I find it sickening that there are those who seek to prey on the elderly and vulnerable in our community. The simple message is, if anyone you don’t know calls and tries to sell you something, send them packing!