JUST as we were getting used to the ‘new normal’, the ‘new new normal’ has arrived with more stringent COVID-19 regulations including the ‘Rule of Six’ coming into force this week.
Hopefully the rules won’t have too much of an effect on local businesses, especially Lyme’s tourism and hospitality sector which was given a much-welcome boost towards the end of the season, especially with the popular Eat Out to Help Out scheme during August.
Judging by the packed car parks and crowds on the beach this week, the heightened restrictions don’t seem to have put too many people off visiting. Just like me, I imagine they’re all keen to make the most of what could be our last week of summer weather.
Lyme’s events calendar, on the other hand, has been completely decimated this year and the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on all our favourite festivities.
As reported by LymeOnline this week, Lyme Regis Fossil Festival has been pulled for the second time this year, Jazz Jurassica has had to scrap live music events at the Marine Theatre as the venue is not planning to fully reopen until 2021, and there was much disappointment expressed on social media this week as the annual bonfire and fireworks display in November was cancelled.
While no announcements have yet been made, Remembrance weekend is likely to look a bit different this year and the question now hangs over – dare I say it yet – Christmas. Will we all be gathering in the town for the big switch-on and Carols Around the Tree, or diving into the sea from Charmouth Beach on Christmas Day?
I noted a few critical comments on Facebook this week about events being called off, particularly the bonfire and fireworks display – always a favourite with both residents and visitors.
Of course, many will be disappointed to hear it’s not going ahead and it’s easy to sit behind your computer screen and criticise. What’s not so easy is pulling off these major events with such success year after year; a huge amount of voluntary effort goes on behind the scenes and the last thing organisers ever want to do is pull the plug. So spare a thought for them.
We should also not forget that many of Lyme’s major events usually raise thousands for clubs and local and national charities. Among them, Cancer Research UK has seen donations towards its life-saving work plummet this year.
As a member of the Lyme Regis branch, we were disappointed this week to have to cancel our annual BIG Breakfast due to the new ‘Rule of Six’, but we have teamed up with Lyme Regis Butchers who will generously be donating 10 per cent from online orders over £9.99 to the charity, between September 25 and October 25.
Here’s looking forward to next year, when hopefully we can see some of our favourite events return.