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MP HELEN WHATELY: Lockdown restrictions eased

Friday 29th May 2020



Summer BBQs are back on!

Not seeing friends and family has been tough, particularly for people on their own. But from Monday the guidance is changing so that up to six people from different households can meet up outside – in parks or gardens. Let’s hope the good weather lasts long enough to enjoy some outdoor gatherings.

I know the last few months have been difficult. I see that in the emails and letters I receive from people every day. This has been a particularly tough time for businesses – especially people who rely on high street trading.

The good news is that because we’re making progress in tackling the coronavirus, we can lift more of the restrictions – car showrooms and outdoor markets will be able to open from Monday 1 June.

The Prime Minister wants to see more shops open later in June, subject to scientific advice, as we take small steps back to some form of normal life.

Getting people back into shops is crucial for many traders, but we need to do this safely. It will feel strange going back to the high streets after months away from our town and village centres. Maidstone Borough Council will be getting over £150,000 to help shops reopen safely and give customers confidence to return.

In the meantime, we’re continuing to support people and businesses throughout this difficult time. 10 million people have already benefited from the job retention or self-employed support schemes, and over £14 billion in bounce back loans have been approved. But I know some businesses are falling through the cracks and I’ve written to the Chancellor about this.

The Top Up Discretionary Grant is aimed at small businesses that have missed out on other grants provided during this crisis. Maybe you’re a business in a shared space or a B&B that pays council tax rather than business rates – this funding could help you. More information can be found on the Kent and Medway Growth Hub.

We can all do our bit by supporting local businesses – using local sausages for the BBQ would be a good place to start!