Sunday, 5 July 2020

Where were you when I needed you?

Last week, I ran a Twitter poll on people’s attitudes to returning to the pub yesterday, the results of which are shown below. What is perhaps surprising, and disappointing, is that as many as 34%, from an audience presumably more favourably inclined towards pubs than the population at large, responded “Not for a long time”.

Now, I would strongly defend everyone’s right to act according to their own conscience. But everyone must recognise that action, or inaction, has consequences. If you’re someone who never much cared for pubs in the first place, you can’t really be criticised for staying away now. But if you have professed support for pubs in the past, and you are under 60 in reasonable general health, you really need to consider your position.

While the death toll from the pandemic has been appalling and tragic, it has overwhelmingly affected the very old and those already in poor health. It has killed just 300 healthy people in the UK under the age of 60. The fatality rate has been 1 in 9,000 for under-65s, but 1 in 250 for over -65s. Now, when the rate of infection is greatly reduced, you are probably more likely to be killed crossing the road on your way to the pub than from contracting Covid-19 when you get there. To still stay away on the grounds that it is not safe represents a warped and exaggerated perception of risk.

The next few months are going to be a very trying time for the pub trade, with reduced capacity from social distancing and a lack of general consumer confidence combining to limit customer numbers. The rush of enthusiasm on reopening day is unlikely to be maintained for very long. Pubs will need all the support they can get. By all means make your own decision, but don’t then complain six months down the line when many of the pubs you used to enjoy are no longer there. More than ever before, “use ‘em or lose ‘em” is a critical message.

Apart from the over-caution, I was taken aback by the wave of rancid snobbery directed on social media at people who had ventured out to the pub. Just look at some of the responses to this tweet from a Manchester Evening News reporter:

Incidentally, the pub in question was the Shiredale in North Manchester. And, while some people said it appeared grim and uninviting, to my eye it very much looks like a Proper Pub. These responses prompted several people to man the barricades in defence of pubgoers, even though it wasn’t something they personally cared for. Many so-called beer enthusiasts who may in the past have given lip service to supporting pubs seem to have gleefully joined in with both of these tendencies. They may well have found they quite enjoyed staying at home during lockdown enjoying supplies of draft craft beer takeouts from their local micro bar, absolved of any need to actually go out and visit any pubs and mix with the dreaded hoi polloi.

Even worse than this were the snarky comments along the lines of “you won’t be saying that in two weeks’ time” which in effect is wishing illness and death on others.

Anyway, on a more pleasant note, the post title gives an excuse for another trip down memory lane with the Bangles. And Susanna Hoffs is five months older than me!

28 comments:

  1. Personally, I've stayed away for 2 reasons: firstly, I was expecting more trouble than actually occurred (though anecdotally 2 local pubs saw punch-ups last night), and secondly, I'm not sure I'll actually like the atmosphere. I'm considering a pint tonight, and if not then, next week; I just wanted to let any pent-up madness to either not happen or to release. As to the risk in a pub? Very much dependent on the individual pub and the clientele at any one point, I reckon. I'm not likely to visit high-risk pubs because they're not the type of place I like anyway, as a rule. Several locals seemed to be doing good trade yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No trouble reported last night in either Birmingham or Manchester city centres. I always thought it would be much more damp squib than mayhem. I've been to a couple of pubs at lunchtime and everyone seemed very well-behaved. Still some uncertainty about how the new systems actually work, and organising queues at the bar seems to be a bit of a challenge. Understandably, as pubs weren't designed for that.

      Delete
    2. The Stafford Mudgie7 July 2020 at 10:57

      "No trouble reported last night in either Birmingham or Manchester city centres" but it was a “drink-fuelled Super Saturday” in Uttoxeter's Market Place with a Special Constable suffering a broken cheek bone.

      Delete
  2. Whilst your assurance that I am likely to be killed in an RTA on the way to the pub than from CV contracted there may or may not be true, you are overlooking the real problem. Crowding people together, whether in pubs or temperance halls, must increase the likelihood of spreading the disease. It isn't the young people who go to the pub who are at risk but the older people they meet afterwards.
    Nor do consider 1 in 250 to be an acceptable level of risk, 40 times higher than the dying in an RTA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After the BLM mass protests the doom-merchants gleefully predicted they would cause the 'second wave' they've been so looking forward to. It didn't happen then, and I doubt it will happen as a result of people meeting in pubs. I've said previously that if Covid-19 was that easy to catch, supermarket workers would have been dropping like flies as they have been the most exposed outside the NHS for the whole of lockdown.

      Delete
    2. You are comparing apples and oranges. The one in 250 is of those hospitalised, not those catching it. First of all there is only a one in 22200 chance of encountering someone with it.

      Delete
    3. Oops. That should read one in 2200.

      Delete
    4. No, the 1 in 250 is total population mortality. 1 in 250 of over-65s in the UK have died from Covid-19.

      Delete
    5. Well if you will put confusing statistics in. Anyway - I'm in the one in 9000 odd and I suppose the age range what dies are mostly at the older end, not 65 year olds. Eithr way. You have to firstly catch it - and that isn't at all likely statistically.

      Delete
  3. I wonder what proportion of the readership of this blog consists of under-60s - and what proportion of those people never have close or sustained contact with anyone who is over 60, or with anyone who does. Students going back to the pub will be absolutely fine, for example, and won't be any risk to anyone, just as long as they don't have any one-to-one contact with their parents, grandparents or lecturers. (So most students won't be any risk to anyone...)

    I may have skewed the results of that poll slightly by selecting "Not for a long time" instead of "I'll leave it a few days". I've got some time off, so I'm actually planning on having a drink in (or rather outside) one of my much-missed locals one quiet afternoon next week. But pub-going as I knew it? Going to the pub without a second thought, after work or to see friends or just to kill time before the Saturday night takeaway? Not for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not in the least concerned about the possibility of catching Covid-19 - in a pub or anywhere else. I'm a healthy adult male and, even if I do catch it, I expect any effects to be mild at the worst. That's what the facts show. I closed my Twitter account in protest at their banning of Katie Hopkins (although, to be fair, I haven't looked at Twitter for a while as it was just making me angry) so couldn't participate in your poll. At the moment I simply don't fancy going to the pub. I don't expect it to be a pleasurable experience.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A good proportion of this blog's readers are clearly bed-wetters who work for the public sector - their jobs will be safe no matter what happens.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bloke in North Powys5 July 2020 at 20:19

    Well I am 76 and hope to be the first customer in our local pub on Monday the 13th when the idiot in Cardiff will allow it to open. Bugger all the bed-wetters. I am not letting them ruin my few remaining years!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Britain Beermat5 July 2020 at 20:31

    Freedom of choice is great. As you say if you don't want to go that is fine but I object to the constant sniping at people who enjoy the pub.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just as I object to being sniped at by people who enjoy the pub.
      Calling people who make a considered decision not to go to the pub "bed-wetters" is hardly constructive.
      And denigrating public sector workers such as nurses and doctors is totally unacceptable

      Delete
    2. Oh, I think "bedwetters" is an entirely appropriate term for people with a ludicrously exaggerated perception of risk. Plenty of these have been given out over the past weekend.

      Although, as I believe you are well above the age of 70, I would not include you personally in that category.

      Delete
  8. Well I have put my views in my blog - so those interested can look it up. Consideration has to be given to venue, time of day and more. If you take a look in and don't fancy it, go elsewhere, but statistically the risk is negligible.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well I went in a couple of pubs on saturday. I found a safe and enjoyable environment.
    Those that think the changes ruin pubs might need to reconsider and those that think they are unsafe are just plain wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  10. One in 250? In just three months too. If it returned to that rate for a couple of years then it would be one in thirty. New Zealand this isn't, then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, yes, we're not a small, sparsely-populated island country over 1,000 miles from any other significant centre of population.

      Delete
    2. No, but nor is Germany, with a mortality of only a small fraction of the UK's, come to that.

      Delete
    3. Germany records deaths caused directly from Covid-19. We record every death that has the remotest connection to a Covin-19 infection.

      Delete
    4. We have about 70,000 excess deaths over what would normally be expected during the past few months - however or as whatever they were recorded. Germany has far fewer of those too. Let's not muddle ourselves with all these off-the-peg excuses. We are in a mess, and it is hammering our economy, especially the hospitality sector, besides killing people.

      Delete
    5. And the non-Covid excess deaths are due to other conditions, particularly cancer, not being tested for and treated. Which underlines why it's vital to get things back to normal as quickly as possible.

      Delete
    6. Don't forget the negative excess deaths caused by Covid. Mainly travel and air quality related.

      Delete
    7. Which will be more than outweighed by the excess deaths from reduced economic activity and the resulting increase in poverty. Methuselah didn't really live to 969 in the Stone Age, you know.

      Delete
    8. No. I was just using that example to emphasise why excess deaths is the best metric for comparing responses.

      Delete
  11. Professor Pie-Tin9 July 2020 at 10:47

    The cretinous David Baddiel tweeted that he thought Jimmy the road worker who was pictured in the MEN story after going straight to the pub from a night shift was the type who had probably spent the lockdown watching porn.
    The chattering classes thought it droll.
    I doubt he'd have the courage to make that statement to Jimmy's face but it was a great illustration of why and how the Tories steamed into the Red Wall to win their 80-seat majority last December.
    Labour really has become the party of sneering metropolitans.
    In other news Irish police visited 6,800 pubs over the weekend and found only 25 were not adhearing to the rules on distancing and providing a meal costing a minimum of €9.
    A decision on the re-opening of all pubs on July 20th is being made today and unbelievably there is still some doubt about it.

    ReplyDelete

Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. To combat persistent trolling, unregistered comments are liable to be deleted unless I recognise the author. If you intend to make more than the occasional comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.