Wednesday, April 28, 2021

No return to normal in UK

Why June 21 won't be as much of a return to normal as we thought | The Telegraph - Gordon Raymer: 

April 27, 2021 "June 21 is burned into the public consciousness as the day when life will finally return to normal.... But there are growing signs that Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place long after the summer solstice. The Government’s scientific advisers want 'baseline measures', including social distancing, to continue for another year, councils are hiring Covid Marshals to start work in July, and vaccine passports are already being trialled. Meanwhile, legal powers to impose domestic Covid-19 restrictions have been extended by Parliament until September.... The Prime Minister insists 'the end really is in sight', but it increasingly seems that may only apply to those who own a telescope....

"Ministers are conducting a review of the 'one metre-plus rule', which allows restaurant customers, office workers and others to sit one metre apart if mitigations such as screens and extra ventilation are in place. Pubs have warned that if the one metre-plus rule stays in place, it will be a disaster for them, because they need to be full to make a profit.... Theatres, cinemas, nightclubs and other venues that rely on full houses to turn a profit are also anxiously awaiting the results of the government review....

"The first major sporting event to take place after June 21 will be the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which starts on June 28, but its organisers have warned the public that ... crowds could be restricted to just 25 per cent of capacity, while players will have to stay in bio-secure hotels and will face fines of £14,000 if they breach Covid-19 security rules.... Football’s FA Cup final on May 15 will take place in front of just 20,000 fans, instead of Wembley’s 90,000 capacity, meaning trials of outdoor sporting events will still be at an early stage by June 21.

"If all legal restrictions are lifted on June 21, the one thing the country surely will not need from then on is Covid Marshals. Yet, councils around the country are advertising jobs for Covid Marshals that do not start until July and will continue until next year.... Their job will be to 'aid and encourage compliance' and to help the public and businesses 'understand regulations and guidance'.... The marshals do not have enforcement powers, and how the public reacts to being challenged by them after legal restrictions have lapsed remains to be seen.

"The Government’s pilots of indoor and outdoor events rely on Covid-19 status certification to allow crowds to return to sport and customers to return to restaurants, theatres and nightclubs. Early pilots of the so-called Events Research Programme are relying on pre-entry testing alone, while later pilots, starting at the end of next month, will attempt to incorporate data on vaccination and acquired immunity, so in other words, vaccine passports.

"The Government has also said it is 'committed to explore whether and how Covid-status certification might be used to reopen our economy', which 'could allow some freedoms to be restored more safely'.... Ministers are reluctant to ban businesses from requiring customers to demonstrate their Covid-19 status, meaning vaccine passports and test for entry are likely to be a feature of everyday life for some time to come.

"The most visible proof that restrictions are over will come when face coverings are finally consigned to history, but that is unlikely to happen on June 21. Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser, has stated publicly that he expects face coverings to be necessary next winter, and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) believes 'baseline measures' such as mask wearing and social distancing might be necessary 'throughout winter 2021/22'.

"The use of face coverings is also the subject of a review. Regardless of whether it recommends that masks should be worn in crowded spaces such as train carriages, it seems likely that the public will either be advised to wear them, or will choose to do so, as the gradual return to normality leads to an increase in commuting, shopping and tightly-packed audiences."

Read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment