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It’s all about the timing

I’m not sure that many people understand the reasoning behind some of the recent lockdown measures. Indeed, I’d be as bold as to wonder just how much there is a carefully worked out rationale? It could well be suggested that there appears to be a certain amount of clutching at straws.

Take for example, the recent 10pm curfew on pubs. It is true that the longer people spend in pubs, the more they drink and many don’t pace themselves sensibly, becoming more lairy as the night goes on. However, the idea that you reduce the risk of inebriated people spreading COVID-19 but causing them to finish earlier doesn’t sound like one which has been considered in the context of what we know of the English pub goer. Faced with a shorter time to get hammered, the hardcore drinkers will start early and go harder while the (scare quotes) “sensible” ones will pile out at closing time and find other places to stock up on booze to keep them fueled all the way to the hangover the next day.

It’s not that politicians are incapable of thinking. Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, has suggested that other places, including supermarkets could be required to stop selling alcohol an hour earlier. That’s quite a cunning plan – at very least it rewards forethought as I’m assuming most pubs look askance on people turning up with a carrier bag full of cheap booze. Is it too much to ask that those setting the national rules could attempt a similar level of grey matter activation ?

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