Column by the leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Toby Savage.

We’re on the right track, let’s keep going. That’s the very important message that I have for you this week.

Last Monday the Government lifted some Covid-19 restrictions. This is great news. We can now meet outdoors with up to five other people (the rule of six), or more if everyone is only from two households, so long as we remain socially distanced. The ‘stay at home’ rule has also been lifted which means that you are no longer legally required to stay at home as much as possible, although everyone who can work from home should. Outdoor sports courts and swimming pools are reopening and formally organised sports can resume.

But many restrictions remain in place. To make sure they can be lifted and we can continue to ease out of lockdown, I am urging everyone to keep going. Please remember that this is not over yet. Covid-19 cases are still being identified in South Gloucestershire. We need you to remain alert and to continue to keep yourselves and others safe.

I want to thank you personally for the huge sacrifices that you have made. These are all contributing to our continuing fight against the virus. We have made great progress since January. Covid-19 cases are down and there are high levels of participation in our vaccination programme.

Let’s not do anything that jeopardises that progress or risks spreading the virus. We need your help to keep moving forwards. Keep following the rules, always remember Hands - Face - Space and Fresh Air, and self-isolate if you or anyone in your household tests positive, or if you are identified as a close contact of someone who has. Holidays are still not allowed and we urge you to stay local, be sensible and keep the number of journeys you make to a minimum.

While I appreciate that we all want to return to normality, for now, I hope you can take some comfort in knowing that we have made great strides against the virus here. Your sacrifices have helped save lives and have put us in a better position to get back to interacting with our friends and loved ones however we want, sooner rather than later. Let’s keep going.