We have now had two full weekends of the significant reduction in lockdown measures.

As your local resident Conservative district councillors in Witham and surrounding villages, we share your relief that our much-valued shops, businesses, community facilities, pubs and restaurants have reopened.

We know that we are all feeling the benefits.

During lockdown, we have all been doing our bit to support our communities during the emergency phase of the crisis and we want to say a massive thank you to all those who have worked so hard to support others during this period.

Things are getting better and we want to congratulate all the retailers, pubs, catering establishments and hairdressers for the way in which they have approached their reopening responsibly and sensibly.

This has been largely replicated by an overwhelming majority of the public and we urge everyone to keep following Government guidance. By acting responsibly and all working together we can rebuild our local economy and help protect our local jobs.

We are pleased that Braintree Council is actively supporting local business, not just through the facilitating of Government grants, but also supporting with social distancing advice and signage.

The second phase of the discretionary grant scheme has been launched and information can be found at: www.braintree.gov.uk/coronavirus or contact ecodev@braintree.gov.uk for advice to support your business.

We are all aware that there are still challenges ahead and we know Braintree District Council will continue to support businesses and our town centre during the recovery phase and beyond, working with the town council and others.

We will keep you up to date and we continue to be on hand to help however best we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us – our details can be found at www.braintree.gov.uk.

Cllr David Bebb, Cllr James Coleridge, Cllr Charley Dervish, Cllr Patrick Horner, Cllr Angela Kilmartin, Cllr Ron Ramage, Cllr Bill Rose, Cllr Sue Wilson