If you’re in England, by the time you’re reading this, you’ll have been able to drink in pubs for a whole nine hours.
Yes! Since 6am, public houses in England have been permitted to start serving again.
Scotland and Wales are yet to follow suit, Yes, you read that right: England is opening its pubs before Scotland.
But that’s a good thing, right?
Hmmm. Is it?
Before I get into that, let’s have a look at one of the other eased restrictions, and it’s a biggie: international travel.
We now have what’s coloquially referred to as the “air corridor” – a list of countries which we are happy to allow our citizens to travel to and back, without the need for self-isolation on their return.
Hoorah! We can all go on holiday again!
Except: we haven’t agreed this with the other countries.
For example: Japan.
Under the “air corridor” rules we’re now allowed to fly to Japan, and on our return, we do not need to self-isolate.
The only problem with that is that Japan won’t let you in.
Here’s what it says on ther website:
We’re not just listed as one of other countries, we’re specifically named and singled out on the main page.
Blame that on the pesky EU.
Which tells you one thing: other countries do not yet consider the UK to be a safe environment.
As with previous posts on this subject, I’m all for the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions, but only when and where it is safe and appropriate to do so. And don’t get me wrong, the public house industry, already banjaxed by that pesky smoking ban (also probably something to do with the bloody EU…) needs that shot in the arm more than most.
As do we: for the past twelve weeks, I’ve yearned for nothing more than to be pressed up against a wheezing pensioner whilst desperately waving a tenner in the general direction of an over-worked bartender.
But something about this particular restriction-easing piqued my interest. Why at 6am? I can’t remember the last time I woke at such an hour, pulled my strides on and vaulted out of the door, desperate to get battered. These days, if I’m awake at that time on a Saturday morning I’m either contemplating getting up and enjoying a sausage sandwich, or more likely (at my age, anyway) thinking “Really? I need another piss….?”.
So why 6am? Well, the official line was that the restriction on opening was specified to prevent people starting celebrating/drinking at midnight and carrying on throughout the early hours of the morning.
6am, apparently, is an absolutely appropriate time to be getting back on that particular wagon. It gives us a few hours to prepare/sober up.
But wait: how many pubs do you know that are open at 6am?
Just the one. The one chain, that is.
Wetherspoons, with their zero hour contracts, wipe down menus and loyal Brexit champion and owner, Tim Martin.
That’s what this particular easing of restriction is about (apart from encouraging the herd immunity philosophy the Goverment swears it isn’t following): it’s a pat on the back for those loyal servants who have extolled the virtues of Brexit then moved all of their production plants overseas (à la Dyson) and/or applying for a passport from an EU-based country (à la Farage).
The Government seems to have a very strange idea of how people interact in pubs. We’ve all been in many pubs where social distancing is not possible when you join the scrum of the queue at the bar.
Allowing the pubs to reopen just seems to be an odd priority to me, an attempt to pacify the masses, given the number of, for example, theatres which, disallowed from re-opening (despite, one would think, social distancing being much easier to implement), I read daily, with a sinking heart, are having to close permanently.
Still, those playhouses will look fabulous on the portfolio of a Russian oligarch, once they’ve been transformed into salubrious £million apartments, right?
Am I the only one who sees the reopening of pubs and the collapse and closure of theatres as a bad thing?
Maybe. Perhaps I’m the liberal Katie Hopkins. I bloody hope not.
Anyway, here’s a song about going to the pub:
And here’s one about what happens when you’re there: