With no prospect of immediate additional support from the state, the prime minister has declared that pubs (and almost certainly amusement arcades) are to shutter at 10pm for the next six months – or else face the prospect of a second national lockdown. Or is this actually the start of the second national lockdown?
A wave of new coronavirus restrictions announced by the prime minister, including a 10pm curfew on all hospitality businesses, are to go into effect from Thursday evening onwards – with the head of Bacta indicating that the new regulations are likely to “pertain to amusement arcades.”
In addition to the curfew, the new protocols mandate the wearing face masks by all staff and customers whilst indoor at a hospitality business, with exceptions allowed when food or drink is consumed. Meanwhile, in a strikingly authoritarian move, all government “guidance” on Covid policy will from now on become enforceable law – with increased fines and even the potential for prison time at stake for those who refuse to comply. In England, the new regulations have been declared as lasting a full six months, with similar time-frames confirmed by the devolved governments of Wales and Scotland. And just a few weeks on from the government’s encouraging of office workers to return to the office, Westminster has about-faced and declared once again that all who are able to should work from home for the foreseeable future.
In additional comments made on Tuesday, Boris Johnson said that were the nation to not sufficiently accord to his latest raft of (unprecedented) clampdowns on economic and social life, then the UK would endure a second lockdown – and called on the British people to “summon the discipline, resolve and the spirit of togetherness that will carry us through.” For his part, Bacta chief executive John White called upon the sector to ramp-up their interactions with their respective representatives, to better drive home the plight of amusement businesses which have already been brought to their knees by pandemic policy. “Can I once again urge all members to ensure that they are keeping their elected representatives up to date with the impact of these measures on your businesses,” he wrote to members. “They can help support the case we are building and do so when necessary, but they need the constituency evidence that you can provide.”
Of course, it’s a course of shut down games.” action that White himself is all-too well-versed in. “We continue to explain to all the politicians with which we interact just how badly all parts of our sector have been affected by this pandemic and the support measures we need,” he went on. “The results of our recent survey on redundancies clearly make the point with approaching a third of our people either made redundant or at risk of being so.”