James Heappey weekly column

With a date now set for gyms, pools and sports facilities to reopen, hairdressers doing a fantastic job at sorting out our lockdown hair and beauty salons able to get back to what they do best, life is starting to return to some form of normality.

The experiences may not be as we remember them, but this is the ‘new normal’ everyone has been talking about, until there is a vaccine for coronavirus. The infection rate in Mendip and Sedgemoor remains remarkably low and that is hugely good news – especially with lockdown easing.

We have seen in Burnham-on-Sea the track and trace system working well. It is good to see trust between customers and businesses that systems are in place to keep everyone safe as we look to get our economy back up and running, whilst also staying alert to the fact the virus has not yet disappeared.

I know some sectors have had to wait longer than others to reopen but with outdoor performances also returning later this month, I hope there will be a feeling of hope that we can all enjoy our summer in a safe and controlled way.

I also hope that many of our brilliant restaurants in Somerset will also sign up for the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which I am sure will encourage us all to enjoy a midweek treat to help our local businesses and save money, too!

If any businesses do want to sign up, they can do so here and the Treasury has made it part of the promise, that by offering 50 per cent off up to £10 on meals between Monday and Wednesday, the money can then be claimed back and in your account within five working days. This offer certainly made a lot of headlines last week and I hope it gives many people the chance to enjoy being back in restaurants again.