IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Take the medicine now to protect lives and economy

09 October, 2020

Nichola Moses, general manger at the Archway Tavern, with bartender Ian Broad

• IN your report (Calls to review 10pm pub curfew, October 2), objections were raised by publicans about the 10pm curfew.

This certainly needs revision. Vested interests will inevitably point out that this curfew limits the viability of businesses and quote Public Health England, that “3 per cent of new Covid cases in the week up to September 20 were caused by the hospitality industry”.

With 42,000 deaths in the United Kingdom over six months, and only 3 per cent being caused by the hospitality industry, then we may expect around 1,260 excess deaths to be attributable to this.

Putting this in context, this number of deaths exceeds by far all the road death in the UK over a six-months period.

Evidence is that enclosed spaces exacerbate transmission of the Covid-19. Pubs are likely to be particularly problematic over the winter, when people shift from outdoors to indoors.

Others cite the Swedish model, where pubs and bars are kept open, as an example to follow. With a death rate per head higher than that of the UK, this is certainly impressive.

Food and beverages employs 400,000 people in the UK and generates £28.2billion annually, and there will inevitably be anxiety around withdrawing the furlough scheme.

However statistical modelling suggests that delaying action will lead to Covid-19 increasing exponentially.

The consequence is that people will avoid going to public houses out of fear and that more restrictive action by government will be necessary anyway.

The squeals of protest from businesses who are losing profit need to be balanced with the heartache caused by death through Covid-19.

An unpalatable medicine is now required to protect lives and the economy in the longer term.

PROFESSOR MARC SERFATY,
N1

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