Since my last column we have now left the second lockdown and re-emerged into Tier 3 restrictions. Outside of lockdown we still can’t socialise with friends or meet family and the hospitality and travel sectors are still struggling.
For my part, I voted against the restrictions and the tiering system. Not because I am against the concept of Tiers, or the need for some restrictions but because I thought the restrictions being laid out were wrong. With the vote being unamendable, this was a binary yes or no vote, and as I did not think that the restrictions were right, I voted against the Government.
This doesn’t mean that I think we should have no restrictions and to let the virus rip, but that I think the restrictions being suggested need to change.
For hospitality, as I said in the chamber, if you’re in Tier 2 hospitality is on its knees, in Tier 3 it’s dead. The sector have gone above and beyond to provide Covid safe environments and accounted for roughly 2% of transmissions prior to the lockdown, to impose these restrictions is both damaging to the sector but goes against the evidence.
Further, the idea that a pub is only safe if you have a substantial meal has then created the debate and jokes over what qualifies as a substantial meal. If we can’t take some of the restrictions seriously, it devalues those restrictions that ultimately keep us safe and only aids in increasing non-compliance.
With several weeks of case numbers continuing to fall, a drop in roughly 60% in a month, it would be remiss of me to not thank everyone for their sterling efforts in reducing the virus.
We now have the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a vaccine which at the time of writing this is now being rolled out across the country to the most vulnerable members of society. With the hope being that as the vaccine reaches more and more people we can slowly head back to a sense of normality and see our loved ones again.
We are now heading into the festivals of Chanukah and Christmas, and whilst this year will be more challenging than most with many of us unable to follow either our family or religious traditions as we normally would, it will once again see the best of our community in coming together and looking out for one another.
I’d like to finish this column by wishing all readers Chag Sameach, a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.