IT was Happy Monday this week when lockdown restrictions were eased and the way back to a normal life for everyone in Stourbridge commenced.

Since 29 March, two households or groups of up to six people can now meet outside and I am looking forward to seeing my parents in their garden this Easter weekend.

The stay-at-home rule has also eased but Stourbridge residents are still being asked to stay local and to work at home if possible.

In other good news, outdoor sport facilities have reopened, including golf courses and tennis courts. Formal outdoor sports are also allowed too and up to six people can attend a wedding.

I was out and about in Lye and Stourbridge North close to Grampian Road over the weekend and it is very clear to me people are looking to get back to the pub, receiving a haircut and meeting with their loved ones. They are truly appreciative of the vaccine programme which has given a first dose now to more than 30 million people in the UK – including myself!

However, going for a pint or out to dinner will have to wait until 12th April as non-essential ships, hairdressers and pubs and restaurants remain closed until at least then.

We are still on track with the government’s lockdown road map and I support its cautious approach. Better to wait just a few weeks and meet all the safety thresholds, than face more restrictions later.

The government is cautious because it is concerned about the third wave in Europe and of new variants of Covid that could render our vaccines less effective. I supported an extension to the Coronavirus Regulations in parliament last week precisely because of these concerns. The government must have the tools to act quickly if there are problems.

I also spoke in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill debate last week to give my support to this legislation that will toughen up sentences for violent and ex-offenders and those who attack emergency workers, better protect women from their on-bail domestic abusers and toughen the law around travellers undertaking intentional trespass.

Hopefully many readers will have received my survey through their doors asking questions about the pandemic recovery and what local people want me to focus on as their MP.

I really want to hear from the people of Stourbridge on what their priorities are as we start to recover from the pandemic.

Have a lovely Easter holiday.