That’s a total number of outbreaks across nine months, four of those while the industry was shut down - so effectively over the short trading window we were allowed in the summer and autumn of 2020, they could only trace 107 outbreaks relating to the pub and bar sector.
Off the back of that, our industry has been effectively shut down since pretty much November, painted as the contributor to the second wave, the finger of blame pointed at us for daring to take advantage of the government’s own Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
And despite the restrictions, the claims, the refusal to back down due to the lack of any real scientific evidence, the reality of the situation is that hospitality and particularly pubs and bars were not a key contributor to furthering the spread of the disease - quite the opposite, if anything our industry would and should have been allowed to play a vital role in safe socialising in controlled environments.
Instead, the government, pursuing its own indecipherable agenda, chose to shut us down and push socialising underground, into illegal gatherings and parties, with no safety measures or control.
Anger only natural
You may guess from reading the above that I’m a little angry, and you’d be right, as is everyone in the pub and bar trade.
We’ve been victimised by a government that claims to have no agenda against our sector, off the back of tiny numbers of infections. What was the infection rate in non-essential, and even essential, retail? Oh wait, they didn’t and don’t have to do any track or tracing.
This Government should hang its head in shame for the way it has handled our sector, vilifying and scapegoating an entire industry than in reality, would been part of a solution to the problem, rather than painted as the main cause of the problem.
Ironically, in the same time that pubs have been mostly shut, deaths from alcohol have risen, once again proving that pubs are an important part of the safety equation - well, unless the government finds a way to blame pubs for that as well.
I would say we should hold this Government to account - but being held to account doesn’t seem something they’re very keen on as an option.