'We will continue to put our arms around the people of this country'

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd September 2020

Many woke up this morning to the news that, as of Thursday, a curfew will be imposed on restaurants, pubs and bars in england, requiring that they close no later than10pm - a measure which the prime minister confirmed could last "perhaps six months."

At what time will the new measures be announced?

The Prime Minister addressed members of Parliament in the House of Commons today at 12:30, and will give a speech on the BBC tonight at 8pm.

The news follows as the Prime Minister, cabinet members and chief scientists have warned of rising infection rates, as local restrictions sweep the country and amid threats of a second national lockdown. 

What are the new rules?

Hospitality businesses in England will be asked to close at 10pm, table service will be compulsory by law, as will the wearing of facemasks by staff and anyone not sitting at their table. 

Police will enforce the rules, and fines will be increased for anyone flouting the rules, starting at £200 for a first offence - double what it was until now.

In his address to Parliament, the Prime Minister commended the nation's efforts to keep the virus at bay in the national lockdown beginning in March, and that "we always knew that if we drove this virus into retreat," that did not mean it had been defeated. 

He claimed that fewer than 8 percent of the population has been found to have antibodies for Covid-19, and that while young people are currently affected, France and  Spain have shown that these statistics will lead to more vulnerable individuals catching the virus. 

"This is the moment we must act," the Prime Minister said, with "stricter, sterner" measures being implemented once more. 

He stressed that while "this is by no means a return to strict lockdown measures," it is crucial that infections be surpressed at this sttage, and that "significantly greater restrictions" could be implemented should we fail to do so. 

Warning that the above rules could last "perhaps six months," he said that it was crucial that we "balance saving lives and protecting jobs and livelihoods," which is why "the vast majority of the UK economy can continue moving forward." 

He added that governments in the devolved administrations are taking similar steps - and indeed, this afternoon the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the same curfew will be in place in pub and restaurants as of Friday, as well as a ban on people from different households meeting in homes from Wednesday.

Leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer said that as the country needs clear communication and cross-party support for efforts to supress the virus, the Labour party would offer both.

He added that "clear leadership" was more important than ever, questioning how effective the measures will be - as local lockdowns with similar guidelines failed to surpress the infection rate. 

The Labour leader asked what emergency financial support would be provided - specifically for the hospitality industry - asking whether the Prime Minister would stand by his decision to abort the furlough scheme in a months' time. 

The Prime Minister responded that the government has already spent £160 billion on its original support package, and that "we will continue to put our arms around the people of this country" - but failing to confirm an prolongation of the scheme. 

How will the new rules affect hospitality?

It will come as a massive blow to the industry, the UK's third largest employer, which has already suffered huge casualties and in which many already feared the consequences of the furlough scheme coming to an end. 

Additionally, evidence suggests that infections aren't occurring in hospitality settings, which many in the industry have decried, insisting on the many safety measures put in place to reopen safely in the summer. 

 

The effectiveness of the curfew has been called into question, as it is thought that indoor gatherings in people's home will simply increase instead, and that shorter service times might even be counterproductive.

 

The tightening of rules has prompted louder calls for further government support to the industry through an extension of the furlough scheme, rent resolutions and VAT cuts - but whether this will be enough to carry it through the winter remains to be seen. 

Chef Tom Aikens' implored that the government be thoughtful in its approach, and said: 

"You cannot take with out giving something back. These are very tough time’s [sic] for all of us. I hope yourself & the chancellor will not leave the industry empty handed for this stolen hour.

"You may think it’s only 60 minutes or 4,800 seconds, but in these times every second counts. Blanket rules for all don’t work, make it fair without more hard sacrifices."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Dear @borisjohnsonuk of @10downingstreet I definitely don’t envy you for some of the hardest & most difficult decisions you have to take as outright leader of our greet country. No matter what has been thrown at her you can count on the millions of people to help get through the most difficult & torturous of times, no matter the turmoil & upheaval. I for one would never want the responsibility of making decisions that can effect the livelihoods of thousands & millions. Who on earth would want that amount of pressure & stress. You have to do what’s best for the country & it’s people. But once again those in hospitality are what it seems the first casualty of the epidemic fall-out. Its an industry that works so tirelessly & hard, putting in a huge amount of hours & sacrifice to make sometimes the smallest of margins. These are people that are driven by passion, respect , loyalty and team work, a never say never attitude like our beloved NHS. You won’t find a more determined group of workers that rarely complain or feel injustice until now. First you strike out the biggest & most important revenue stream of the hospitality sector by pretty much cancelling Christmas with no events no group bookings, office parties. That decision alone has cost the industry millions. Then your decision this evening to close all hospitality business’s by 10pm, how can 1 hr make a difference to those that are adhering to all essential guidelines. My whole team & I wear masks all the time, we only seat 23 covers, we pride ourselves on safety at all times & giving the very best service that’s not rushed or forced. One less hour will dramatically effect my business & many many others. I’m sure you have thought long & hard on the best for all, but what is our compensation going to be, but another bag of air. You cannot take with out giving something back @borisjohnsonuk .These are very tough time’s for all of us. I hope yourself & the chancellor @rishisunakmp will not leave the industry empty handed for this stolen hour. You may think it’s only 60 minutes or 4,800 seconds, but in these times every second counts. Blanket rules for all don’t work, make it fair without more hard sacrifices.

A post shared by Tom Aikens (@tomaikens) on

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd September 2020

'We will continue to put our arms around the people of this country'