Looking back at a year of Covid and looking forward to brighter times

Posted: Wednesday 10th March 2021

We’re now just over a year on from the first case of Covid-19 in Trafford and it’s hard to believe how much we have lived through in just 12 months. Full and partial lockdowns, schools closed to most children, businesses forced to close, incredible strain on health services and the tragic loss of loved ones.

As a council we have done our very best to be there for residents and businesses through these unprecedented times. To name but a few examples this has included assistance for vulnerable people via Community Response Hubs, paying many rounds of government grants to businesses, supporting our carers and partners in the care sector and carrying out Covid testing for key workers. This short video produced for social media on the anniversary of a year of Covid in Trafford highlights more ways in which services across the council have risen to the challenge during this time.

I’m sure it has given everyone a lift to see children going back to school this week – home schooling parents in particular – and it’s good to see this important element of normality returning for our young people. Our Public Health team has been working closely with schools to ensure everyone’s safe return and we wish staff and pupils well as they get to grips with the new testing requirements.

For many businesses, the next key date on the reopening roadmap will be no earlier than 12 April, when non-essential businesses may once again open their doors. We know it’s been a long, tough winter for so many businesses but it’s really important that we now see this through and stick to the rules during what will hopefully be the last weeks of lockdown. Keeping infection rates down is absolutely essential if we are to reopen for good this time. Our Environmental Health team is on hand to offer help and advice as businesses make preparations to trade again, so please do contact them for support if required.

The standout beacon of hope since Christmas has been the success of the Covid-19 vaccine roll out. It has been wonderful to hear the stories of enthusiasm and relief from those receiving their vaccinations across Trafford and our health partners have done an amazing job in delivering the programme to huge numbers of people. Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective and it’s important that everyone who can have the vaccine does so at the earliest opportunity. When you’re asked to come for your jab, please make and keep the appointment – this is how we will protect our communities and get our lives back on track to normality.

This month will see Census 2021 take place, giving us once-in-a decade information on the number of people and households across the UK and providing Trafford as a council with vital information that will underpin future decisions about planning and provision of services. Letters will be arriving with households from this week with your access code, which will allow you to fill in your survey online on Census Day, 21 March. Please do take the time to complete the survey and help to make the data on Trafford as accurate and useful as possible.

We have also now had confirmation that local elections will go ahead on 6 May, having been postponed from last year. The council’s Democratic Services team is working hard to ensure that measures are in place to ensure these are safe for participants and officials, but if you would prefer to vote by post, you do have this option, so make sure you register for a postal vote in good time.

It feels like it has been a long time coming, but we have every reason to believe that we are now over the worst of the pandemic and can look forward to a more normal summer. My thanks go to everyone who has abided by the restrictions over the last 12 months, and by doing so contributed to driving infection rates down. It’s been a massive effort and we mustn’t let up now – so please continue to stick to the rules until they change – and together we can look forward to brighter times ahead.