Reaction to last night’s news that the government will later today detail further lockdown restrictions has been varied.
Earlier today we received a view from Chris Stern, Managing Director, Stern Consultancy on his perspective and we have published in full below. We hope readers find Chris’ views as refreshing as we do.
“Putting opinions about the government to one side, we seem to be in a situation where yet again there are no easy solutions. We need to do something about rising Covid cases, but we also need to try to protect the economy and individual livelihoods.
“I’m not sure I can see any better solution than this, though it saddens me to say this. It’s certainly not helpful to do what seems to be the usual British approach, which is to look back and say we/the government should have behaved differently – we must only look forward.
“We were all super-hopeful that September would be a new beginning in all sorts of areas; now any momentum that was being achieved is being stifled. I’m relieved that people are still being encouraged back to the office – and based on what I’ve seen in Covid-ready offices, these are very safe places to be, so it does make sense. Getting to them in big cities remains a challenge and based on driving into London yesterday afternoon, it seems many people are in their cars…. traffic was horrendous! In truth, anyone who may have used public transport recently can also see that it’s pretty safe – uncrowded, excellent directional control and most people wearing facemasks – though it’s infuriating that this doesn’t seem to be being policed in any effective way.
“So…. our industry, what does this mean? I’m not sure it needs to be as tragic as it could sound. 6 people can still go to a restaurant or a pub together – is it essential really to be in bigger groups than this? Staff restaurants and cafes can still operate if people will accept that employers have done a sterling job in making the workplace safe – caterers have done a brilliant job in making these places not only safe, but really appealing too.
“The big question is: how will the public react? I’m pretty sure that many will continue to go out, especially after getting used to doing so during Eat Out to Help Out. Our industry needs to shout about how safe they have made it to visit pubs and restaurants, and needs to be seen to be taking every care…. some of the images in the media have not helped here. Taking a positive attitude and communicating effectively has to be the way forward. Stick to the rules, be sensible and we can get through this with limited damage. Time will tell.”
Also by Chris Stern