Sir Mike Penning MP – September Update

I very much welcome the reopening of so many businesses and the recent extension of the Government guidance to allow ice rinks, bowling alleys and soft play centres to reopen as long as they take appropriate covid-19 precautions. I also welcome relaxation of the rules on weddings and the efforts made by the Government to encourage us to eat out and shop local.

We need to get our economy going again and this is a very welcome and important first step. There are, of course, many businesses that are still not able to reopen and I am urging the Government to support these businesses and allow them to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

However, whilst it is vital that we start to rebuild the economy, we cannot risk a second lockdown. It is all too easy to forget about the risks of covid-19 as life begins to return to normal. I therefore urge everyone to follow the guidelines and I back the Government’s decision to increase the fines for people who repeatedly refuse to wear a facemask (unless medically required not to do so) and for people who hold illegal raves and large gatherings.

It is clear from my postbag that opinions on relaxing covid-19 restrictions remains divided, but the Government continues to be led by the best scientific and medical advice available. The Prime Minister’s ‘whack-a-mole’ policy of dealing decisively with the isolated spikes that we have seen in places like Leicester and some towns in the north is a reasonable compromise between protecting both public health and the economy. None of us want a return to total lockdown.

Sadly, the virus is here to stay so, until there is a vaccine, it will be necessary for all of us to learn to live with it. We all have a responsibility to avoid transmission. We cannot hide away from it forever.

Mostly, it is the simple steps of washing hands regularly, keeping social distancing and wearing a facemask in confined areas.

Finally, I reiterate, if you have the symptoms – even mildly – go and get a test. Don’t wait. You can book a test (at a centre or a home test) at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

Photo: Sir Mike Penning MP visits DJs Play Park at Jarman Square, Hemel Hempstead to see the social distancing measures they have put in place.

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