Covid: MPs call for roadmap dates to be brought forward

MPS across the area have called for the dates of the prime minister’s roadmap out of lockdown be brought forward if the data allows.

On Monday, Boris Johnson revealed his roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions, starting on March 8 with the opening of schools and ending on June 21 with all restrictions ended.

On the news, MP for Bournemouth East, Tobias Ellwood said: “No general would commit to a date in achieving the next phase of battle, they would set the conditions to be met before commencing. The same applies to tackling the pandemic.

“The stock we have gained through lockdown and the vaccination programme has reduced the R rate. We know any measures opened up will send it back the other way, therefore it requires a careful assessment as to what is permitted and how far you can go.

“This phased approach is to be commended. I expect the pace of change caused by the vaccination programme will see those dates brought forward in time, that is what I am hoping.

“It is absolutely right, if we want these changes to be irreversible, a conditional plan is stepped out with full knowledge that if conditions are met, we can move to the next phase.”

Speaking of support for businesses, Mr Ellwood said: “It will be awful for any business to make it this far only to fold in the last few weeks before we are able to open up.

“I do hope the chancellor will be listening to the concerns raised by hospitality by the continuation of VAT support and other measures.”

Meanwhile, Sir Desmond Swayne, MP for New Forest West, said: “We are going to have to live with Covid without allowing it to affect how we live our lives.

“By June 21 we want to be back to normal, all regulations ceased, at least that goal is there, and I welcome that.

“Of course, I am very, very disappointed it’s not faster, I am concerned about the businesses that will go bust before they are allowed to reopen.

“My principal criticism is that the prime minister said this is about data not dates then announced not-before dates, data will drive the thing in only one direction and that is prolonging it.

“If the vaccination programme stalls, if there’s an uptake in infections it will push the dates back, if these things go better than expected, they don’t bring the dates forward.”

Schools will reopen on March 8 and on March 29 the rule of six will return in outdoor settings.

On April 12, shops, hairdressers and beer gardens can open. May 17 will see the rule of six indoors and pubs open, and the roadmap ends on June 21, data dependant.

MP for Bournemouth West, Conor Burns, said: “The prime minister is determined this will be the last lockdown. Some people are looking at [the roadmap] and thinking it is more cautious than it needs to be, at least we now have a degree of certainty.

“The vaccination programme needs to continue at pace, that is absolutely essential.

“The chancellor must make sure that support for businesses that are still being told they cannot open must continue.

“Having spent as much money as we have so far, it would be reckless to pull the plug so close to the end of the tunnel, the light almost blinding.”

Bournemouth Echo | News