Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a further update about the changes next week to the lockdown rules, as well as on a couple of other local issues.

It is worth saying that although many of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on 17 May, other restrictions do remain in place.

This is the guidance from 17 May:

You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.

You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

 Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).

  • New guidance on meeting friends and familywill emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others and in some settings and circumstances, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family.
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.
  • People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
  • The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors will change, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.
  • All higher education students will be able to access in-person teaching.
  • Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits will increase to 30 people (not including under 5s)
  • There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me, though I cannot promise to have all the answers.

Chalk Pit Epsom

In my last update I mentioned the issue of the current use of the Chalk Pit in Epsom. I am pleased to say that since then the Environment Agency have stepped up their monitoring and rule enforcement at the site. They have already issued a number of breach notices against the users of the site, and have begun the processes to take stronger action if the problems continue. Those problems have not all gone away yet, though, and I am keeping in contact with local residents and the Environment Agency team to make sure that improvement action continues. I will also continue to press the County to reject the retrospective planning application for the current use.


I know that many of you offered to help the voluntary sector during the lockdowns over the past year, and in fact that there were more offers of help than were needed. But if you are still a would-be volunteer, a local charity, Surrey Care Trust is recruiting volunteer mentors. Mentoring is a simple but effective way for a person to give their support to someone who is going through a tough time or needs encouragement to make difficult decisions.

Surrey Care Trust volunteer mentors are people from the local community who give their time to help young people aged 11-18 and/or families with children aged 5-19, who are struggling to cope with their feelings and may be self-harming, are being bullied at school or are affected by relationship breakdown or domestic abuse at home. With the support of their mentors the young people feel better about themselves, cope better at school, and achieve a goals like going to college or improve relationships and family life at home.

Training for the volunteers and the service are all provided free of charge.

If you are interested in finding out more details are at

I hope that you are able to enjoy a good summer as the lockdown restrictions ease.

With best wishes

Chris Grayling