MP could see some restrictions, like mask wearing, return this winter
- Credit: Paul Simon/ Charlotte Bond/ Denise Bradley/ Sarah Lucy Brown/ Getty Images/ iStockPhoto/ PA/ Yui Mok
A Suffolk MP has said there could be a need to return to mask wearing ahead of the Prime Minister's announcement on Covid rule changes.
Boris Johnson said he would be giving "a full update" on plans for the winter months today (Tuesday).
Vaccine passports have already been ruled out but there have been rumours of a winter "firebreak" lockdown.
"We’ve got to do everything that’s right to protect the country," said Mr Johnson on Monday.
“But the way things are going at the moment we’re very confident in the steps that we’ve taken."
Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich said that the county could be "cautiously optimistic" about its current situation but said that some measures may need to return in the near future.
"We have had a summer where we can enjoy our freedom," he said.
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"As everyone is forced to spend more time indoors in the dark and wet winter months that is going to increase the number of people contracting Covid and flu and other respiratory viruses.
"Whilst the vaccine has been very effective in reducing hospital admissions and more severe illness we have got be prepared for a difficult winter ahead."
Dr Poulter said he didn't believe a lockdown would be in the plans for now but could see other restrictions brought back in the future including mandated mask wearing in some indoor spaces.
"It's likely to be less restrictions than last year," he said.
"I am cautiously optimistic."
Business and tourism experts in the county are hoping that Tuesday's announcement would help them spring back.
Paul Simon from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said certainty was the key message that businesses were looking for.
“After a year-and-a-half of lockdowns and an often contradictory and ever-changing advice and messaging, Suffolk’s business community is looking for certainty above anything else," he said.
“Firstly, the Covid Winter Plan needs to extend across the next six months and not only over the next three as this will avoid another cliff edge in terms of business planning.
“Secondly, there needs to be crystal clear scenario planning, so that businesses can anticipate when the evidence from available Covid 19 data, such as infection rates or new variants, or NHS capacity issues, is likely to necessitate a change in guidance.
“Thirdly, we will be expecting a clear menu of business support measures that can be called on should companies’ usual trading arrangements have to be curtailed by Government fiat. These support mechanisms need to be announced as part of the original package and not dropped in over subsequent months.
"Finally, local businesses will expect the Government to also focus on its longer-term legislative agenda, not least in improving the county’s skills pipeline in readiness for a sustainable green economy. This requires that the Government engages with a renewed purpose with Suffolk Chamber in ensuring that the needs of the county’s entrepreneurs are fully understood and embedded, not least regarding the recent reported declines in business investment.”
Pete Waters from Visit East of England said that the summer season had been great and that the autumn was looking good too.
"The most important thing now is that hospitality, culture and arts venues open up safely and we get full attendances again," he said.
"Booster jabs will help to give people confidence and, unless there’s another variant that takes us backwards, it’s time to get on with life as normal again."
Chris Mapey, who runs the Crown in Woodbridge, the Duke in Ipswich and the Elmswell Tavern, said the hospitality sector was on its knees and desperately needed life to return to normal.
"I am delighted to her that vaccine passports have been dropped but I am worried about the noise of a fire break lockdown," he said.
"We have got to get on with life, the virus is not going anywhere.
"We need a clear statement where we are going to get on with this."
Boris Johnson will give his announcement on Tuesday.