Mayor’s column 9 July 2020

As we start to ease out of lockdown, every week seems to bring new developments. I was delighted for all those people associated with pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, and some leisure outlets, who were able to open their doors this week after many months of not trading. In most cases there’s been decorating and cleaning going on behind the scenes to make it safe for us all to return, and business owners have worked hard to mark a trail for safe distance, provide hand sanitisers, and in some cases, even masks.

We’ve also seen the play area at Victoria Park open up this week. As you can imagine it’s not possible to sanitise every piece of equipment each time it’s used, so we are relying on everyone to follow the simple guidance: Look after yourself; Keep your distance; Wash your hands.

Our Town Rangers have been busy working, very safely, keeping all our green areas looking good, building steps at the Millennium Green, doing maintenance at the Boyle Cross, planting flowers around the bandstand in Victoria Park, looking after the flower beds, planting trees and being creative with their grass cutting. They’re a really hardworking team and I’m so pleased that many of you have written in to say what great work they’ve been doing, and how much you’ve noticed their work on your daily walks.

It’s also been good to see the town busy this week. Our thanks to all those shop owners and businesses who’ve made it safe for us all to buy the things we need. And don’t forget that although you can’t currently drive through the town, you can approach from either side, the Town Centre car parks are free and it feels lovely wandering through a car free town.

As Mayor, I should have been travelling to Murrhardt in Germany this week, which is one of our twin towns, along with our others, Chateau Gontier in France and Rabka-Zdrόj in Poland. This meeting is held annually to celebrate our twinning relationship. I’m looking forward to having my own mini celebration this week with a barbecue in my garden with my family. Being separated from loved ones has been the hardest thing to bear during lockdown, and it’s wonderful that we can start to get back in touch with our friends and families, albeit carefully and still keeping our distance.

I hope you continue to stay safe and prosper. Have a lovely week!

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