18th August 2022

Llanelli Online News

Llanelli's First For Hyperlocal News

Lee Waters MS discusses the new restrictions, and the road ahead

It’s been a tremendously challenging few months for everyone. Many of us have been separated from friends and family, the economic picture is gloomy, and our children have paid an enormous psychological price. Like any parent, these are the things which keep me up at night.

But these last few months have also told a story of hope and a renewed sense of community spirit. Wales has one of the lowest ‘R’ rates in the UK, and that is no accident. Together, we have all played our part in bearing down on this ghastly disease.

With that limited headroom, this next fortnight will see a further easing of restrictions here in Wales, permitting we continue to suppress the virus. From this week, non-essential retail, the housing market, and some outdoor sports courts will have the opportunity to open. But this permission is not an invitation, and it will be up to these sectors to step up and guarantee public safety. The ‘Stay Local’ guidelines will also hopefully come to an end from 6th July, so we are asking people to come with us on one last lap when it comes to staying within their local area.

So yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we have reason to be cheerful, but this does not mean the threat of Coronavirus has gone away. It’s estimated that only around 5% of people in the UK have been infected, leaving us deeply exposed to further outbreaks. Indeed, the Spanish Flu over a hundred years ago was far deadlier in its second and third peaks. We would be ill-advised to think this is ancient history, and to let our guard down when we are arguably at our most vulnerable.

On the economy, we are doing all we can in Wales to shape the recovery, with a generous support package of around £40 million supporting around 3465 businesses here in Carmarthenshire alone. But to put it bluntly, whilst we can cushion the impact of Coronavirus on our economy in the short-term, the scale of macro-economic intervention necessary for our recovery can only come from the UK Government.

So now is not the time for complacency in tackling Coronavirus, nor is it the time to fall into our comfort zones when discussing the future. This town prides itself on ‘still being here’, and that spirit of tenacity is more important than ever as we navigate the months and years ahead.

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