I am calling for a two-to-three week circuit break in England in line with Sage’s recommendation.
A temporary set of clear and effective restrictions designed to get the R rate down and reverse the trend of infections and hospital admissions.
This would not mean closing schools. But if this happens imminently …. it can be timed to run across half-term to minimise disruption. But a circuit break would require significant sacrifices across the country.
It would mean only essential work and travel. That everyone who can work from home should do so. Non-essential offices should be closed. Household mixing should be restricted to one household except for those who’ve formed support ‘bubbles’. And all pubs, bars and restaurants would be closed for two-to-three weeks – but compensated so that no business loses out because of the sacrifices we all need to make. It should also mean the UK parliament moves to remote working.
A circuit break would also provide an opportunity to reset and to rectify some of the mistakes the government has made. In particular to get a grip on testing and hand over track and trace to local authorities. A circuit break will have to be accompanied by extensive support for jobs, businesses and our local economies.
Because if we’re requiring businesses to close we must provide the financial support necessary to protect people and our local communities – because every job matters and every business matters.
Introducing these kind of restrictions is not something anyone wants to do. This was not inevitable. But it is now necessary if we are to: protect the NHS, fix testing, and get control of the virus.