Catherine McGuinness: All the signs point to 2022 being a brighter year

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catherine mcguinness

Despite being in the depths of mid-winter, we are starting to see a clear path towards spring and the chance for Square Mile residents and workers to lead normal, busy lives again, meeting and socialising as they used to before the pandemic began.

Everyone has been hit hard by the government restrictions and we are all, I am sure, pleased to see an end to most of those placed upon us.

All the signs point to 2022 being a brighter year in our battle against coronavirus but we still need to remember that it has not gone away.

So, vaccination, and consideration for others, remain just as important.

We should continue to test, let fresh air in, wash our hands regularly, and wear a face covering on public transport and in shops.

Our businesses have faced exceptionally difficult trading conditions during the last two years, with the chopping and changing of working from home rules leaving them with no idea as to when a steady flow of City customers may return.

But today the signs are much more promising.

NOW READ: COVID pop-up vaccination centre visits east of the City

Our pubs are full, our restaurants are packed, and our cafes are bustling.

I’ve been pleased to see queues outside my coffee shop growing even longer in recent weeks as the City’s streets spring back to life.

Many of us will be celebrating the return to the office, giving us a chance to rekindle our creativity and those important face-to-face working relationships.

Of course, the Government was right to lift Plan B restrictions – the move safely allows the economy to prosper.

But we were only able to do this because of all those Londoners who acted responsibly by getting their COVID booster jabs.

And we will continue to encourage people who may not yet have had their booster or even their first or second jabs to come forward.

A pop-up vaccination clinic will visit the Mansell Street Estate in the East of the City this week from February 17-19. You can find more details on the City of London Corporation’s website.

For those of us who work and live in the Square Mile, I would like to encourage you all to get out and support our businesses – the vast majority of which are SMEs.

To that end, we’ll be relaunching our ‘Square Smile’ campaign this month to showcase the best of the City’s retail, hospitality, and cultural offer.

It is time to put a spring in the step of our businesses and get out and support the green shoots of recovery.

That’s why we have launched a new grant scheme for City SMEs in the retail, hospitality, leisure, and medical sectors.

The programme goes further than the Government’s offer, with an estimated 1,100 businesses expected to qualify.

The City Corporation will be contacting most of them directly and inviting them to apply through an online application process. Other eligible businesses will be able to apply via the City Corporation website.

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