One Way Trip
Once again, the only way is up. Tier three restrictions announced yesterday will turn parts of London into a “ghost town” over Christmas. Starting on Wednesday, Londoners join the North, the Midlands and parts of the South West in that they will only be able to meet outdoors.
Pubs and restaurants must once again close except for takeaway services. Let’s face it, apart from sunny days in tourist hot spots, who on earth would pay pub prices without the benefits of socialising in a comfortable pub? Granting take away options to a wet-led pub is just an insult.
This latest forced closure leaves pretty much the whole hospitality sector on its knees. Only last week, Marston’s, the largest regional brewer in the country, announced a £400m loss. However, this surge in infections is from when pubs and bars were closed during Lockdown 2.0, so how can it be the fault of the pubs? Cases were also higher at the end of the four week closure than they were at the beginning.
From my home in the West Midlands, nothing has changed here. I take no comfort in the misery of Londoners, only disappointment that the stranglehold on the licensed trade has not been lifted here. For since the tier system was brought in, it seems that the only way is up – a one way trip to the top tier.
No matter that cases in my own borough have dropped dramatically, no matter that continued surveys exonerate the trade from blame when it comes to infections, we still see no prospect of any restoration of freedom.
Even the Mayor of London has opposed the move, instead calling on schools and colleges to close a week earlier for Christmas as being a far more effective way of controlling the rise in infections. Once again, government policy is derided from all sides.
So having gone through all the facts, how are we supposed to logically come to any other conclusion than the government not wanting people to speak to each other, to share stories and reach the conclusion that this whole situation is overblown? If someone has the answer, please let me know.
I’m not in the habit of conspiracy theories and have a quarter of a century’s experience in the licensed trade. I just want to know why the pubs are getting the blame in spite of all the evidence to the contrary and why areas never seem to go down a tier – even when the infection rate does.
Martin Day – Party Secretary