Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury pens his monthly column for the Guardian.

A phrase we hear a lot lately is ‘the new normal’.

All over the world, countries are still grappling with the fallout from Covid-19 which has left many families mourning the loss of loved ones.

The threat of this virus still persists and is likely to for some time yet.

With that in mind, the planet is trying to figure out what a post lockdown world will look like.

How do we get back to some semblance of normality while still ensuring we protect people from this virus?

As well as the danger to health and life, the outbreak and lockdown have presented a hammer blow to the economies of towns like ours.

It was a particularly cruel twist for Northwich given that it was very much on the up, with more tenants moving into Baron’s Quay and with the town centre having been once again recognised as a ‘rising star’ in the Great British High Street Awards.

But I’m contacted daily by businesses who’re concerned about the future now, desperately looking for help and support to get through what are unprecedented times.

I’ve been working closely with Northwich Town Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Northwich BID team to try and bring any and all potential sources of support to bear for our local businesses to enable them to survive.

Many thousands have been supported, but sadly some have not survived due to the gaps in government provision – something I’ve been lobbying hard on since this start of this crisis.

Those Northwich businesses which have survived are wondering what the new normal will look like.

How will social distancing work? How will they earn a living? The Northwich BID have received over 500 replies to its survey to shape the action plan to get the town moving forward quickly and safety.

Residents too want to know how and when they can go back to some sort of normal life.

They’re rightly fiercely proud of their town and they want to help it get back on its feet.

From speaking to people who work closely with the Northwich business community, it’s clear that one of the most pressing issues is figuring out how they can operate safety, both for staff and customers, while also getting some of that vibrancy back.

As we emerge into this ‘new normal’, it’s essential that the government supports businesses to enable them to make the changes and adjustments they need, such as providing clear and consistent health and safety guidance as well as funding where appropriate for adequate safety measures.

With restrictions on public transport, more cycleways and pathways are also needed.

Looking further into the future, as things start to return to something we’re more familiar with, we must take the opportunity to ensure lasting change.

Some good must come from this crisis, building on the social solidarity in the town’s communities. How about aiming to be the greenest town?

The recovery plan must tackle the longstanding transport problems in the town, support the market traders who have been hit by the double blow of the fire and now the crisis, as well as Northwich’s independent retailers and artisan market.

Those that have lost jobs and businesses quickly need tailored support, nobody should be without a secure accommodation and we certainly do not want to go back to the age of austerity.

Winnington Bridge and the Weaver Square Development along with other infrastructure projects should be ramped up, and genuinely affordable accommodation should be provided for our key workers that we clap every Thursday night. We must be bold.

I am optimistic that by working together, we can make the new normal a success and ensure that when Northwich comes through the other side, it will be well equipped to flourish in a post-Covid world.