View from the chamber: Keep hope. It won’t be like this forever

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, is aware that Christmas will be different this year.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, is aware that Christmas will be different this year. - Credit: Archant

You’ll know that Newham and the rest of London has now entered into a new toughened ‘Tier 2’ as we start the countdown to Christmas and the New Year.

In essence, the toughened Tier 2 represents a ‘high alert’ status for the Capital which will remain in place until March 2021. Whether London moves into ‘very high alert’ Tier 3 at any point depends on how we manage Covid-19 transmissions rates in the capital – which remain high in some parts – particularly in East London.

The new Tier 2 restrictions means that while many retail outlets will be open, there will be tougher rules on pubs and restaurants. They’ll be able to open to 11pm now, but only if they serve food with alcohol. The ‘rule of six’, will also still apply to outdoors only, and social mixing indoors won’t be possible with anyone that is not in your household or support bubble.

This coming weekend we celebrate Small Business Saturday and the start of the busiest shopping period of the year. This is a key time for many independent shops, who rely so heavily on pre-Christmas trading. So please do shop local and support our small businesses and the Newham’s economy – but please do so safely.

As we enter the Christmas period, the ongoing risks of Covid-19 will mean that we won’t be able to celebrate in the usual way of being with many of our family and friends to enjoy the festivities. We’ll also be thinking of all those lives lost to this virus in Newham.

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Despite the excitement of the long-anticipated arrival of vaccines and mass testing, and ‘Christmas bubbles’ where up to three households can meet during a five-day period from December 23 to 27, we must continue to be careful in their memory. So during the temporary relaxation of restrictions over Christmas, please continue to keep up with the public health guidance and restrictions in place - for the safety of your loved ones and the wider community here in Newham.

Let us also remain hopeful as we look to the New Year, because there is hope and a Covid-19 restricted way of living won’t be the reality forever. The council is already implementing our strategy for the recovery of the borough, part of our work of always working with residents towards a better Newham.

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