With cases of Covid-19 rising once again, it was inevitable that the Government would add further restrictions to the increasingly complex rules surrounding social distancing.
I have no issue with this, but I do object to the way in which pubs are being 'demonised' by the Government and some reports in the press, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock even going as far as stating this weekend that pubs and restaurants are one of the key places of Coronavirus transmission. This is clearly untrue and there is no data available to support his claim. In fact, I'd go further - you're probably safer in a pub environment than you are at your local supermarket.
Pub teams have had to endure Covid-19 risk assessment measures that are more strict than in any other industry. And they've done a sterling job. Public Health England’s most recent data is very clear on where transmissions are happening. 43% are catching it in care homes, 26% from schools/universities and only 4.6% in restaurants/food outlets.
So let's be honest. Pubs aren't the issue here, people are.
We ALL have a collective responsibility to socially distance in order to reduce the rates of transmission. If we ALL follow the common sense measures of regular hand washing, wearing of face coverings when required to do so and keeping 2 metres apart whenever possible, we will see the transmission rates fall.
Follow the rules and we can learn to live with Coronavirus - because it isn't going away anytime soon. I'm sure we'll come up with a vaccine someday and I'm also sure we'll see other medical advances that will eventually help us return to a more normal lifestyle, but in the meantime let's get used to living with Covid-19 and adopt the social distancing measures.
If we don't we could lose our pubs and restaurants, putting a huge dent into the economy of the UK. According to UKHospitality, the hospitality industry:
- employs more than 3.2m people – an increase of 24% since 2009
- generates £130bn in turnover per year
- invests £10bn per year
- contributes £39bn in tax receipts
The map at the top of this blog page shows the number of jobs by constituency created by hospitality - it's a fascinating read and can be found here. In Lincoln Green's constituency of Sherwood, 7585 jobs exist in the sector - 53% more than the national average and I'm proud that our pub company contributes to those numbers by providing local employment opportunities.
If you're like me and you love pubs, then please think carefully about social distancing. With collective responsibility we can manage the virus, reduce the number of cases and save our pubs.