Joy at last! After over 100 days of lockdown yesterday’s coronavirus press conference was the first that made me laugh out loud.
There was Boris Johnson’s endearingly shambolic performance including the moment he had five goes at saying Contact Tracing, Contract Tasting sounded so much more interesting.
Then there was his admittance that he’d been “stumped” as to why cricket could not restart and that he’d consulted the “third umpire” – which appeared to be England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty – and decided it could begin again after all next week.
The new three word Government message after Take Back Control, Get Brexit Done, Stay At Home is now Enjoy Summer Safely which, for me, strikes absolutely the right tone.
It is surely time for some joy, for returning to something like normal life but trusting people to do the right thing. The beleaguered UK hospitality sector certainly needs some help and it was lovely to see Prince William lending his support by enjoying a pint and a meal at his local pub in Norfolk.
Of course there were the usual threats and dire warnings from politicians, scientists and medics but I for one am delighted that this so-called Super Saturday has finally arrived.
On my morning’s drive it was great to see our local Greggs had reopened once again selling its famous bacon breakfast roll.
Later on I could see groups of young men queuing ahead of the reopening of one of our village pubs at 12 noon today. There were also lines of people waiting patiently outside barbers and hairdressers – how great it is to see these places which are an important part of all our lives back at work. I swear people in town had a bit more of a spring in their step and a smile on their faces.
Hearing about all the job losses in the hospitality sector – the restaurant group behind Café Rouge and Bella Italia announced 1,900 redundancies – has made me feel very sad.
I feel even more for the independently run bars and restaurants. I’m planning to go to one of them later. They’ve stayed open for take-away beer this last few weeks and have been refitting out their bar at the same time doing their best to make it Covid-safe.
They’ve spent a fortune on new seating, barriers between tables and an improved ventilation system. They’ve also introduced new procedures for how they welcome and serve customers and a new cleaning regime.
They’ve made such a great effort which must have cost a fortune for a business that operates on such tight margins.
Hospitality is the UK’s third largest sector with over 3.2 million people employed. It’s also the biggest generator of joy and I’m so glad it’s back.