Pub bosses hope for 'return to normality' as Covid cases fall in Ipswich

The Grand Old Duke pub in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, which is reopening and will mainly be known as T

The Grand Old Duke pub in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, which is reopening and will mainly be known as The Duke Picture: CHRIS MAPEY - Credit: Chris Mapey

Hospitality bosses believe the end of the pingdemic may be in sight as Covid cases fall in the town, and self-isolation rules changes less than three weeks away.

Chris Mapey, who runs the Grand Old Duke of York pub and The Angel in Woodbridge, said just one staff member had been pinged by the NHS Test and Trace app this week - after he and fellow publicans have been left short staffed for weeks because so many workers were self isolating.

Across Ipswich pubs have been forced to close because of a lack of staff, but Covid cases in the town have fallen rapidly and, in turn, the number of people 'pinged' because they have been in contact with someone with the virus has fallen.

Mr Mapey explained they are continuing with strict Covid measures even though social distancing rules have been dropped, and wants to see hospitality out of this "hinterland" as soon as possible. 

Pub landlord and Conservative councillor Chris Mapey

Pub landlord and Conservative councillor Chris Mapey - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

From August 16, those who are double jabbed, plus those aged under 18, will no longer have to isolate after being coming into contact with a confirmed case, further reducing the impact on pubs and restaurants.

"We've been glad to be open," he added. "It's been a journey. I feel normal life is resuming."

Cllr Ian Fisher, Conservative Group Leader and Councillor for Castle Hill Ward.

Ian Fisher, whose ward of Castle Hill currently has the highest rates in Ipswich.  - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

In Ipswich, the latest Covid case rate was 254.9 per 100,000 - while the average across England was 446 per 100,000.

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Ipswich borough councillor Ian Fisher, who represents Castle Hill ward, said cases "have gone down a lot" recently in Ipswich, and added the correlation between infection and hospital rates seems "to have stopped now". 

His ward had 36 confirmed cases in the week to July 19, while nearby Whitton had the lowest rate with just 11 cases.

Cllr Fisher said: "My real concern is how it is dealt with this winter. People that are vulnerable need protecting and we will protect those who need to be."

Rape survivor Sam Murray wants to change the culture around women's safety. Picture: Sarah Lucy Bro

Sam Murray, borough councillor for Castle Hill, hopes "we can go back to normal life soon".  - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Fellow ward councillor Sam Murray said: "After an incredibly tough year, hopefully we can go back to normal life soon". 

Cllr Murray, who also represents Whitton and Whitehouse at Suffolk County Council, encouraged people to get vaccinated if they feel "comfortable".

She said NHS vaccine staff "are incredible" and will offer advice to anyone who needs further reassurance about the jab.