IT is pleasing to see that the efforts of hardy Tyne Valley folk have not been in vain as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

As of Monday, May 17, pubs and restaurants can serve customers indoors, the acts sector can reopen its doors, hugs with loved ones can resume, as well as overnight stays and travel to green list countries.

It is welcome news for us all that life can begin to safely restart after over a year of uncertainty and to allow businesses to build back better and for families to make up for lost time.

It also comes as temporary traffic measures in Hexham are to be lifted - a relief to many who live and work in the area.

Northumberland County Council will be removing the measures, which include allowing two-way traffic back on Market Street, removing some temporary barriers at Battle Hill and reopening Hallstile Bank to traffic. It will also be removing the temporary road closure of the Market Place to traffic on Saturdays when the farmers market is on.

The measures were put in place last August to create more space for social distancing in the town centre, but were deemed problematic for traders in the town.

The fourth and final stage of the Government’s Lockdown ‘roadmap’ is due on June 21 with all remaining restrictions due to be lifted.

This final hurdle will mark a significant leap for the country once it is crossed and has only been made possible through the efficiency of the vaccine programme - of which Tynedale is among the leaders in the UK - the sterling efforts of the NHS and our key workers, who have worked in unimaginable circumstances to protect and provide a key service, as well as the sheer, grit and determination of the public to obey stay at home orders and for continuing to observe hands, face, space rules to halt the spread of coronavirus and to limit its affect on us all.