Christopher Whiteside MBE is Conservative County Councillor for the Egremont North and St Bees Division of Cumbria County Council. The division includes St Bees, Bigrigg, Wood End, Moor Row, part of the Mirehouse area of Whitehaven, and surrounding countryside.
He is also deputy chair (political and campaigning) of the North-West region of the voluntary wing of the Conservative party.
Chris lives and works in Copeland with his wife and family.
Thanks to the continued success of Britain's historic vaccination programme, the link between infections and hospitalisations has been severely weakened, with an estimated 8.5 million infections and 30,000 deaths prevented in England alone.
That is why the government believe we are able to move to Step 4 of the Roadmap on 19 July, lifting the majority of legal restrictions - however people will be expected to protect themselves and others through informed choice, such as wearing face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces - where you come into contact with those you don’t normally meet - and using the NHS Covid pass in high risk settings.
Guidance has been set out for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable on how they can keep themselves safe.
The pandemic is not over and cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks, but with 80 million vaccinations now administered we can replace the short term protection of restrictions with the long standing protections vaccines offer.
There are no easy answers and no perfect courses of action. Every government throughout the world has faced criticism from the relatives of those who died for not doing enough to stop the pandemic and by those who have lost their jobs or businesses for being too restrictive.