July saw a major easing of the lockdown in England with the Government allowing the reopening of bingo halls, cinemas, galleries, hairdressers, hotels, pubs, restaurants and theme parks. Later in the month saw the addition of  outdoor pools and water parks, indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres to the list of businesses that could reopen, as the Prime Minister announced his plans for a "significant return to normality" by Christmas. The new rules allowed people to use public transport for non-essential journeys with immediate effect, but face coverings were made mandatory. Regrettably, following the easing of overseas travel restrictions, there was a fairly swift return to a requirement for a 14 day quarantine for travellers returning from Spain.

In the city, despite all major events being cancelled, some Livery Halls and the Mansion House were commencing their planning for reopening their doors, albeit with a very cautious approach and in a limited way. Regrettably we had to postpone our wonderful Triennial Awards until next year, when the event will be even bigger and better.

We continued to hold many committee meetings virtually, including the Wine Committee, the Finance and Communications Committees and the Strategic Review Steering Committee. I am really pleased to be able to report that work on the strategic review has been carrying on apace despite the lockdown and the difficulties that this brings. It looks like we will be able to stick to the original timetable after all, which is very good news. Well done everyone involved in working on the strategic review, this is excellent work.

Additionally I have continued meeting weekly with the Wardens and Acting Clerk and we have been concentrating on the recruitment of the new Clerk to the Company. Our timetable is to hold interviews during August and hopefully make an appointment at the meeting of the Court on 3rd September and we are still on track to achieve these timescales.