“Sussex Day” took place on Tuesday this week and it is great to have a specific annual focus to celebrate Sussex’s heritage and for residents to share what they like about our wonderful county.
Clearly the ability to hold events to celebrate are curtailed but I am, however, pleased that as changes are made to lockdown we are all able to do more in Sussex and enjoy our county whether it be shopping in our market towns and villages, or walking on the South Downs.
This week has marked a number of changes to lockdown, including the reopening of non-essential shops. A thriving retail offer is at the heart of Horsham and I very much hope our local shops have had a successful and thriving first few days back.
Safari parks, drive-in cinemas and other outdoor attractions where people can stay in their cars are also reopening - this will be a huge relief to these leisure providers. I know pubs and restaurants are eagerly awaiting the circumstances under which they can also reopen which we all hope will not be far off – but will depend on a continuing fall in the rate of infection and measures to keep it suppressed.
Although many have found technology for face to face discussions helpful and have hugely appreciated the support of neighbours and friends, it is particularly tough to go through lock-down as a single person. I know people are desperate to see loved ones again.
I am delighted that from last weekend single adult households (adults living alone or single parents with children under 18) can create a “support bubble” with another household.
I know for those who meet these criteria “support bubbles” will be vitally important in helping to combat loneliness and allow friends, couples and family members to be reunited again. If however any member of the bubble contracts the symptoms of Covid this of course means all within the bubble must take appropriate action.
Whilst incremental steps are taken to reopen parts of our lives, work continues to combat this terrible virus.
Last week I spoke to Michael Andreou, the Managing Director of OptiGene, a Horsham based company who have developed a Covid-19 test which can deliver results within 30 minutes.
It was great to hear from Michael how the test has already been used and the progress being made in pilot programmes.
Although great progress is also being made on vaccines (and preparations are underway to manufacture millions of doses if they prove successful) we do not yet know conclusively if a vaccine will work and how long it will be until it can be rolled out.
The imperative as we move towards an easing of lockdown is to ensure that as local outbreaks occur these can be identified quickly and action taken at a local level to suppress the disease: quick and accurate testing results will help to stop the spread and I am delighted that a Horsham company is so deeply involved in what is vitally important work.
Photo Credit: The victors of the Warnham Cricket Competition in 2016: National sports fixtures, without crowds, are restarting and the English Cricket Board are among sports bodies issuing advice on how training can be got underway at a local level within guidelines.