For the first time since May the Office for National Statistics is reporting a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections in England, estimating last week there were circa 4,200 new infections a day, compared with 2,800 just over two weeks ago.
The news prompted Prof Chris Whitty, the UK’s chief medical adviser, last Friday to say: “I think what we’re seeing from the data from ONS, and other data, is that we have probably reached near the limit or the limits of what we can do in terms of opening up society.
“So what that means potentially is that if we wish to do more things in the future, we may have to do less of some other things.”
The news also led Boris Johnson to put further easing of containment measures on hold, including opening casinos and bowling alleys. As well as the return of indoor performances and pilots of large gatherings in sports venues and conference centres.
Boris Johnson said in a Downing Street press conference on Friday he was reluctantly required to “squeeze the brake pedal” on the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Over the weekend much more debate on easing lockdown restrictions has taken place. The question of closing pubs and restaurants in order to be able to reopen schools was raised and discussed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
The programme on Saturday featured Sage member, Professor Calum Semple who said he believed there was a high probability that a second wave of Covid-19 virus could emerge in October, and that “hard decisions will need to be made about what restrictions need to be reintroduced”.
Professor Semple went on to say: “Whether that’s potentially the pubs and the hospitality sector taking a hit in preference to education will be a political decision.”
With the majority of the hospitality industry already on its knee’s, and reopening not resulting in enough people coming back to enjoy hospitality in restaurants and pubs up and down the country, the prospect of another enforced lockdown would surely be the final nail in many hospitality business coffins.
With Boris Johnson’s Machiavellian focus on following votes and voters, hospitality Vs schools does not bode well for all in hospitality.
schools open hospitality close – 3 August 2020 – schools open hospitality close