Relief for shoppers and traders as Covid restrictions set to be lifted

"It's about time these restrictions were lifted and I'm looking forward to getting on with my life now."

Neelam Rai said the lifting of restrictions will benefit places like Bilston Market
Neelam Rai said the lifting of restrictions will benefit places like Bilston Market

Shoppers and traders at Bilston Market are looking forward to getting closer to normality following the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the possible lifting of the remaining Covid restrictions in England on July 19.

The remaining restrictions which could be lifted include the "rule of six", table service in pubs and restaurants, nightclubs being closed and capacity limits in theatres and cinemas, as well as changes to rules around mask wearing and social distancing.

The official announcement won't be made until July 12, but for those visiting Bilston Market on a Monday lunchtime, the chance to have a more normal life without restrictions was being welcomed.

Thomas Lees from Lanesfield was out shopping and the 62-year-old said that while he was pleased at the potential lifting of restrictions, he wanted people to show they had been vaccinated first.

Thomas Lees said he wanted to see people show cards to show they'd been vaccinated

He said: "To me, people should have to show a card that says they have been vaccinated before they go out and about as it's only fair to those of us who've had it done.

"I think as long as people keep clean and keep their distance, it'll be fine and I'm glad to see we can get a bit more of our normality back."

Neelam Rai from Bilston works at the market helping direct people around and the 29-year-old said she felt it was the right time to lift the remaining restrictions.

She said: "I feel it's the right time as I feel safe and can see a much more positive outlook going forwards.

"I think it'll be personal choice whether people want to wear masks and I know I will be wearing mine as it makes me feel safe and that's a nice feeling to have.

"It will benefit places like Bilston Market as it will help traders and bring back a much busier and bustling market again."

James Joyce from Bloxwich runs a stall selling toys and hardward and the 66-year-old said the lifting of restrictions was long overdue.

James Joyce said he was looking forward to being able to go on holiday again

He said: "It should have been done a month ago, so the quicker, the better as I think it'll be better for trade and for people's mental health as they've been scared to come out of the house.

"With the masks, it's personal choice and I think a lot of people might continue wearing them because they feel safe with them on.

"It'll benefit the market because we've gone from no trade and struggling to pay the rent to being busy again, so more people out will mean more business for us.

"I'm looking forward to going on holiday and getting away as everyone needs a good break."

Michael Whatmore from Tipton said he was happy to see the end of restrictions, with the 71-year-old keen to spend more time out of his house.

Michael Watmore said he was happy about the lifting of restriction as he was happy to get out of the house

He said: "It's long overdue, as far as I'm concerned, as I feel a lot safer now after being vaccinated and I think we're in a good place.

"We won't get rid of this virus, but it'll become just like the flu and we'll deal with it the same way, so I'll get my flu jab before I get my Covid booster.

"I've been stuck in my house for a year and it's just nice to get out, so I'm not worried about things and lifting restrictions is fine by me."

Samantha Jones and Maggie Muldowney from Food to Fill both said they would keep wearing masks, but were feeling happy about the lifting of restrictions.

Samantha Jones said she would keep wearing a mask, but was pleased to see restrictions being lifted

The 54-year-old Samantha from Parkfields said: "I am feeling a lot more comfortable about things now and while I will still wear a mask, I think we're going in the right direction."

The 67-year-old Maggie from Walsall said: "I'm relieved about the lifting of restrictions as we've waited so long.

"It'll be personal choice for me wearing the mask, but that's a small thing and I'm just happy to see the restrictions being lifted as I will be able to go to see Rod Stewart live again!"

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