THERE has been clear relief this week at news that the coronavirus has been suppressed enough to plan for lifting many of the restrictions on our daily lives, whether that’s allowing kids to get back to school full-time, hospitality businesses to reopen, or even for people to get a few days away over the summer.

After months of uncertainty, grief and suffering, these are simple things which people will cherish. But while they are good news for many, it’s also important to recognise there will be others who will now be more anxious.

We’re still battling a deadly virus. We’ve slowed the spread, but it hasn’t gone away. So while I’m looking forward to a cold pint in a beer garden, I only want to do that when I know it’s safe for everyone there, especially staff.

Similarly, I’m pleased that my kids will be able to see their friends again and get back to something like normal school in August, but I also want the right protections for their teachers and classroom assistants. And while I’m lucky to be able to contemplate a camping trip, I’m also mindful that our most at-risk citizens have been shielding for months and still don’t know what’s next for them.

So, it’s vital that before we move to the next steps of lifting lockdown we must now see real urgency at all levels of Government to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing. Greens have been leading calls for regular testing for school staff and for robust guidance that protects hospitality workers, among other vital public health measures.

Promises have been missed on testing in social care and for weeks, we’ve failed to make use of our full testing capacity. There can be no margin for error now and the next few weeks will be crucial.

At the same time, the talk about economic recovery and how we build back greener and fairer needs to translate into action.

The first waves of Covid-related redundancies are starting to hit and they are disproportionately affecting young people. who were already bearing the brunt of low pay, insecure work and precarious housing before the crisis. The Scottish Government’s economic advisers have echoed a Green manifesto proposal for a jobs guarantee for all young people. That’s welcome, but it needs action now.

Political leadership will be important. Early in the crisis there was much talk of consensus-building but that has clearly fallen away. Of course it’s right there is robust scrutiny of decisions and it’s undeniable there are clear political choices to make as we rebuild from the crisis. But building back better requires mature discussion rather than cheap political point-scoring. Greens have welcomed a commitment to make the Council’s recovery a cross-party endeavour and we’ll play our part in making sure it leaves no one behind.