Yesterday morning, the country took an important step in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdown restrictions eased ever so slightly.
Those who cannot work from home have been able to return to work under strict health and safety regulations; where needed, people are now able to increase their bubble to include other family members or carers; and food businesses have started firing up the kitchens for home delivery or contactless pick-up.
Some small level of normalcy has begun returning to our lives and it is very reassuring that our sacrifices and hard work over the last five weeks has brought us here. But let’s not forget how easily all of our efforts could come undone if we become complacent now.
Alert Level Three may not be quite as restrictive as Level Four, but it does mean that there is a high level of risk that the virus is not fully contained and therefore could flare up again.
It may be wonderful to begin treating ourselves to some of our favourite foods again, and a relief to be back working, but this is not the time to throw in the towel and completely revert back to pre-lockdown life.
For the welfare of our whole community, we must ensure that we are still keeping our bubbles small and not expanding them to hang out with mates - as much as we all miss each other.
We must be keeping our travels for essential purposes only, and maintaining good hygiene practices by washing our hands thoroughly and often.
I have been reminded just how determined and cooperative our people are these last few weeks and I am very proud of how we have behaved. We were given a momentous task to restrict the spread of COVID-19, and the overwhelming majority of us rose to the challenge as a united front.
We have come this far. Let’s beat COVID-19 once and for all by sticking to what the Government is asking of us.
We all want lockdown restrictions to be a thing of the past as soon as possible, and the fastest way to help that happen is to remain vigilant and to keep following the Alert Level rules.
I know we can do it. Let’s keep it up, Mid Canterbury.