This week's Councillor Column is written by Argyll and Bute Council leader, and Helensburgh councillor, Aileen Morton.

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As we head into the summer months, and lockdown restrictions are starting to ease, I’m sure many people are breathing a sigh of relief that “normal” life is showing signs of returning.

There is obviously still a lot of debate going on at every level, though, as to what “normal” will be in the coming months.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought public health into the public eye, and forced us all to consider not just what we can do to keep ourselves healthy but to protect others as well.

As we move into the easing of lockdown it will be important to keep that at the front of everyone’s mind – that your choices don’t just impact on you, they impact on all of those around you as well.

Greater personal freedoms bring with them greater personal responsibilities!

READ MORE: The 13 new changes made by Nicola Sturgeon as lockdown limits are eased further

However, while a virus is easy to see as a public health issue it’s really not the only public health challenge facing us at the moment.

Poverty and isolation are also a substantial concern as we now seek to address the impact lockdown measures have had on the economy and on people’s mental health.

I’d urge all local residents to consider in the coming weeks and months how they can shop locally, supporting both businesses that have been there for the community throughout this pandemic and those that have been forced to close for months.

We are lucky to have such a range of businesses in Helensburgh, including small, independent retailers – if we want them to survive then we need to shop with them.

READ MORE: 'Economic recovery plan' approved for Argyll and Bute

Clearly there is much more to be done to try and restart our economy, and the council is working to bring businesses together with public sector organisations to ensure as co-ordinated an approach as possible.

Restrictions have now been eased further, and more steps are set to be taken at the end of this month.

As the deadline for business support grants is now less than a month away it is clearly time to start shifting focus and work on supporting businesses restarting.

As for people’s mental health, referrals are climbing for formal support but support is available so if you need help then please ask for it.

You can of course contact your GP or specialist support services but there is also the opportunity to ask for emotional support through the local coronavirus helpline (01546 605524).

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest news headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond here