If you’re in a pub when the final bell tolls tonight, you may possibly be witnessing the last “last orders” for many of these establishments. Pubs are being blamed for the spike in “cases” of Covid which coincides with the reopening of schools and colleges and the onset of winter. Oddly enough, this strange phenomenon called “winter” happens every year.
They have seen their businesses take a near-fatal hit, barely recover through the summer, suffered intrusions into the privacy of any potential customers and even further restrictions on standing at the bar to order (increasing staffing costs). Many of them will not survive this second, unjustified closure. The British pub is an endangered species.
The staff will probably be anxious, stressed or both, and many of them could very well be having to apply for benefits in the morning. Many will have worked flat out during the Chancellor’s “Eat out to help out” and now their trade has been blamed for the increase in cases. They have followed the strict, ever-changing, and often unclear, regulations that have led to many being abused by frustrated customers for trying to stay on the right side of the latest legal diktats.
Now they are being told to stay at home with only a percentage of their wage so you can all stay “safe”. They still have bills to pay, will they miss out on their anticipated Christmas overtime? It’s not as if the last lockdown ended as scheduled is it? However, they are still expected to take the hit so the government has someone to blame without barely a “Thank you”.
Cases rose when schools and universities went back. They didn’t rise when BLM and Extinction Rebellion were demonstrating en-masse in London. They didn’t rise in the few short weeks people headed to the beaches. They didn’t rise during “Eat out to help out”! This is hardly the fault of the Hospitality industry!
Even for people who don’t drink alcohol, this is a hugely important sector of our economy. Students value the opportunity to pay their way through university, with many continuing on to long-term careers. Parents top up the household income.
Human beings are not isolationists. We are generally social animals and need the interaction with others. Along with the closure of cinemas, gyms and even golf courses(?), stopping us have a pint or with a friend is not going to mean the virus has a holiday for four weeks. It will, however, mean an increase in mental health issues, poverty and increased crime. All of which are killers in their own right. Save the pub!
Martin Day – Party Secretary