Here we go again….
We are on the cusp of the Pantomime Season and, like many, I certainly wanted to be shouting at Covid ‘you’re behind us!’ Alas that is not the case and the virus villain is still very much in our midst. By the time you are reading this I will have voted, with a heavy heart, to bring in a second lockdown. Let me stress: the PM, Government and Parliament have not taken this step lightly. Government pulled every other lever to try to win through without having to resort to another lockdown. We were not successful, and, against a rising tide of positive tests and hospitalisations, no serious Government could ignore the unanimous warning and advice of its top advisors. Our two top priorities must be to ensure the NHS does not implode under the weight of Covid and the annual increased demand that the winter months always brings. Our second is to keep our places of learning open. We cannot and must not deprive our local young of the keys of learning that they will use to unlock all of life’s doors.
At the start of the first lockdown the death of our high streets was predicted. Local businesses across North Dorset rose to the challenge as I know they will do this time. People working from home suddenly found themselves shopping in their locality too; pleased to be able to get out and about. They found a treasure trove of unique market town shops, pubs and cafes offering excellent service and quality product. The great food and drink that we produce in abundance across North Dorset was enjoyed and appreciated again. Many made full use of the internet to satisfy the needs of customers. Lots offered click and collect or home delivery services. Independently produced quality takeaway food was available with some pubs doing more weekday trade than if their doors had been open. May I make this plea: it’s not just the national companies that can trade online. Our local businesses are doing so too. The sign on the door may say ‘sorry we are closed’ but the internet keeps them open 24/7. Please use them. Not as an act of charity but because they are good businesses providing great product. So, before you start Christmas shopping remember our local high streets. If you can buy a takeaway lunch, mid-morning snack or teatime treat a couple of times a week; especially so if you are working from home and would normally buy a sandwich and cake from a local outlet for your lunch. None of us want to find ourselves saying next year, when we survey a ghost town, ‘I remember when there were shops here’. Our town businesses make our towns. Their doors may have to be temporarily shut but their online business is always available to us. Let’s not pay lip service to supporting local while shopping national. We all have a part to play in this. Let’s support them.
I hope and pray that all across North Dorset keeps well and safe during this time. North Dorset is a strong and resolute community. We will get through this. There will be a brighter tomorrow.