Boris Johnson orders the UK into a second quasi-lockdown as virus cases surge

Cabinet Meeting Returns -  Tuesday 22 September 2020 - Downing Street, London

A subject I’ve been thinking about a lot as I’m still in lockdown: what would be different in America if Barack Obama had still been president when the pandemic happened, or what would it have been like if Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden had been president? I have no doubt that Biden, Clinton and Obama would have led with science, and they would have taken the virus seriously very early on, when it was first in China, probably. We probably would have done a big and real lockdown in March and April and I also think they would have handled the economic impact a lot differently. But you know what would not be different at all? The morons. The maskless morons, the conspiracies about how the pandemic isn’t real, the idiots who would have still blamed Democrats for the virus.

Anyway, that’s just a fun (not really) little thought-exercise. What would be different? What would remain unchanged? One thing that wouldn’t change is that no matter what, everyone would be facing a second wave of the virus with the seasonal change. Donald Trump still isn’t doing anything about the horrendous numbers here in America. But Boris Johnson is doing a second quasi-lockdown in the UK:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people on Tuesday to work from home where possible and ordered bars and restaurants to close early to tackle a fast-spreading second wave of COVID-19 with restrictions lasting probably six months. After government scientists cautioned that deaths may soar without urgent action, Johnson stopped short of another full lockdown as he did in March but said further action could be taken if the disease was not suppressed.

“We reserve the right to deploy greater firepower, with significantly greater restrictions,” Johnson told parliament following emergency meetings with ministers and leaders of the United Kingdom’s devolved governments. “We will only be able to avoid it if our new measures work and our behaviour changes.”

He said Britain had reached a similarly perilous point as countries like Spain and France.

“We will spare no effort in developing vaccines, treatments and new forms of mass testing but unless we palpably make progress, we should assume that the restrictions I have announced will remain in place for perhaps six months.”

Just weeks after urging people to start returning to workplaces, Johnson advised office workers to stay at home if they could. He ordered all pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality sites to close at 10 p.m. from Thursday with only table service allowed.

[From Reuters UK]

“With only table service allowed” – wait what? Can you guys do takeout? I haven’t been inside a restaurant since March. I’ve been doing takeout exclusively, and supporting independently opened restaurants. I think “only table service” in this case means that people can’t hang out in bars/pubs just to drink, they have to sit down and social-distance a bit? As for BoJo’s time table – six more months of these kinds of lockdown measures sounds about right to me? I still believe that we won’t have a vaccine ready for mass production until well into next year. So maybe it’s more like… six to nine months.

Also: as someone who follows tennis, I’m also crazy-concerned about the conditions in Paris for the French Open, which starts next week. The qualifying matches have already started and players are already testing positive ON SITE.

Cabinet Meeting, London, UK

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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31 Responses to “Boris Johnson orders the UK into a second quasi-lockdown as virus cases surge”

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  1. janey says:

    we can do take away and we have been able to eat indoors again, on tables of no more than 6, tables to be distanced from each other. Now, anyone not sitting down (either eating or drinking) should be wearing a mask (i.e. going to the loo). Or at least I think that’s right. People are no longer supposed to crowd round a bar. I was running past my local pub the other evening when someone arrived and proceeded to hug everyone there. The morons are everywhere. They are at school when I drop off / collect my child. they are in supermarkets and my place of work.

    • LadyMTL says:

      It’s the same thing here in Quebec; just two days ago the government tightened things up again because our cases have started to climb as well – no more than 6 per table in a restaurant, masks on unless you’re at the table eating, last call at bars is now 11 and close at midnight, and so on.

      Apparently here it’s spreading mostly through large gatherings like house parties, weddings, and so on, so they’ve now had to limit the size of those as well! I can only hope it will be enough, but who knows? No-one wants another lockdown, that’s for sure.

      • Redgrl says:

        Next door to you Ontario has tightened things up too. Same types of problems. We were in Quebec up in the Laurentians recently and there were some problems with line ups outside a few restaurants and bars with people not socially distancing properly. Most restaurants were but those that weren’t REALLY weren’t. Was very upsetting to see.

  2. Sofia says:

    Yeah we’re allowed to do takeouts and sit down as long as restaurants have social distancing measures in place

  3. Becks1 says:

    I think its interesting to see what’s happening in Europe and the UK and contrast it with what’s happening in the US, where people seem to have forgotten there’s a pandemic going on.

    It’s weird because my state has handled it really well, and so we’ve been reopening for months now. We are now up to 75% capacity for indoor dining, and we’ll see what happens in the winter, but so far, each reopening phase hasn’t really resulted in the expected spike. We’ve had some isolated spikes, but they’re not part of a trend and our hospitalizations are the lowest they’ve been since April. (I do think part of that is because most people I know are still dining outdoors over indoors, so the capacity increase isn’t really a big deal.)

    So I feel guilty starting to get back to normal (mask on, of course, and socially distanced) but I also just keep looking at the numbers every day and it seems like what our governor has done has worked? But then I think about schools reopening and the winter and flu season and think we’ll be screwed again. It’s just hard to figure out what’s the right thing to do.

    Anyway, all that to say that I’m watching what’s happening in places like the UK and I wonder if we’ll even recognize the second surge here when it happens, or if we’ll just shrug and keep going?

    • Snowslow says:

      This is where we were at a month ago in the UK (at least in London). Once the flu and the schools re-entered our lives, it has all gone to sh*t. No measures can really stop a virus with an active population with low temperatures I suppose.

      • Becks1 says:

        That’s what I’m afraid of. Many of our school districts are going to start in-person learning in the next month or so, which coincides with the start of flu season, and I think even states that have done well (like mine) are going to be set way back.

    • Ocean Girl says:

      Hi Becks1

      I believe we’re in the same state (MD). What bothers me is the difference between what the state health dept numbers are vs. Johns Hopkins. Hopkins show the infection rate is higher. All I can think is it has something to do with someone not reporting everything, or reporting to someone who is doing their best to “trumpify” the numbers.

      I think that putting kids back in school is going to be a disaster. With the holidays coming up, I’m afraid that many people are going to ignore all science-based safety precautions. We’re in for a bad time.

  4. heygingersnaps says:

    Last month the government encouraged people to eat out with Eat Out to Help Out scheme, where if you dine in at participating restaurants, cafes and bars you will 50% off your bill capped to £10 (£15?) excluding alcoholic drinks , the government also pushed and shamed people to go back to working in offices, strong armed schools to get children, teachers and staff to go back again, encouraged the public to go to pubs.
    There was even a horse race in Doncaster early this month that was open to the public. However they did not put a robust testing in place, the government awarded contracts to shady companies, probably to line their pockets via their cronies/mates. Deloitte and Serco for example. Now, the government is blaming the public for a surge in cases and for tests running out.

  5. Sarah says:

    “I think “only table service” in this case means that people can’t hang out in bars/pubs just to drink, they have to sit down and social-distance a bit?”

    It means you can go to a pub/bar/restaurant but you have to be seated in a group of no more than six (our magic number for meeting up). If you’re with people from outside your household you should be distancing too.

    I loathe Boris and his cronies and I think they have absolutely mis-managed this due to their primary concern being money. Having said that I’m so bored of people complains about what ‘Boris will let us do’. This is an airborne virus with no vaccine/cure. Just stay away from other people as much as you can. Of course it sucks but people are dying and I’ve just read yet another account from a 22 year old who went from fit and healthy to now spending more of her day asleep than awake months after having one night in hospital due to Covid. The government needs to support the hospitality and entertainment industries and people need to stay at home.

    Thanks for coming to my rant.

    • JanetDR says:

      That’s the thing we don’t hear about on the news, the people who didn’t die, but are nowhere near back to their former life. I know of one classmate in that position, she is using a walker at times because she kept falling. It’s unpredictable and that makes it scarier!

  6. Snowslow says:

    Yes, in the UK restaurants remain open. Maybe don’t say that it’s a quasi-lockdown because it isn’t – no one is forced to work from home here, it’s just recommended. The rules reducing more social movement is the 6 people rule. This means families can’t get together – I have 4 kids and with my husband we’re already 6 when we’re all together and most of our friends have at least one kid. Or big-ish groups of friends. But as the commenter above said, there is still a lot of people who “don’t believe in Covid” and a lot of people who just can’t be bothered to change their behaviour.
    At school the kids are in bubbles and can’t interact with kids from other bubbles and when they leave a classroom they disinfect their desks. But they’re not allowed masks in class, only outside of them.

    • ShazBot says:

      How come they aren’t allowed masks inside? that would be where they’re most needed.
      Here, kids wear masks all day inside, and can only take them off to eat or outside at recess. It’s not ideal that they take them off and eat inside, but we don’t really have any options for them to do otherwise.

      • Snowslow says:

        I know I don’t get it. My kids were upset to know this and my husband and I were super nervous (we still are but I guess we adapt…). We think it’s because of behaviour issues which makes no sense. The kid who is going to misbehave will misbehave with or without a mask. Totally defeats the purpose because with all the care on the world, if you sit in a 30 kids class, you are gonna get it sonner or later.

  7. detritus says:

    Does he wear his hair this way so people underestimate him?
    He looks like Dennis the Menace, but a blonde version of the UK Dennis.

    • AA says:

      He has this “buffoon” image that sells in the UK. It sells in a way that everyone thinks he is harmless, he doesn’t take himself seriously, he is one of us, he is funny and relatable, and down to earth.

      When he was London mayor, so many non-tories still liked him, and whenever I brought up my dislike for him, even “liberal” or left-leaning friends would say “oh he is hilarious though!” “he doesn’t care what anyone thinks!” as if that makes a great leader. He is dangerous and I have no doubt that he will get elected again.

      • detritus says:

        There we go.
        When I see someone in politics or business like this I can’t help but think – what is their angle.

        Because there is no way in all their career they’ve not been made aware of the way they appear.

        For Boris, this is his sheep’s clothing, yes?

      • Ange says:

        It’s an old tactic. We had a state premier here in Aus that was notorious for it, Joh Bjelke-Petersen. He acted like this absolute rube from the country, all doddery and clueless until it came out he was running one of the most corrupt state governments out there over a hugely corrupt police force. They called him the Hillbilly Dictator in parts.

    • Zaya says:

      Yes. He purposely mess up his hair when he’s in front of cameras. It’s part of his “I’m a harmless bloke, not a publicly educated posh elite” image.

  8. Seraphina says:

    I have seen crazies at the supermarket, people I know without masks. People I know who have a family member in their own home with COVID and are going out 10 days later – because heaven forbid we stay inside the full 14 and I have people I know who blame this on the upcoming election. People I have been staying away from because of reckless selfish behavior which is on full display.

    One thing that would not be different is that even if we had a democrat in the WH, the republican would still say this was conjured up to throw off the election.

    What a mess and nightmare. I joke with a friend: Thank God for social media so we can see who we need to stay away from.

    • Mel M says:

      Right, I got off SM this summer because I couldn’t take it anymore and I’ve stopped speaking with many people because I’m done with them. My in-laws are dump worshipers who have been going on about their lives as if nothing is going on (going out, having many people over, no masks) and then try to make us feel guilty for not letting them come visit. If I’m supposed to “respect” your stupid choices then you need to respect ours.

      • Seraphina says:

        Exactly this. I respect the fact that they are not of the same mind set, but they need to respect I will not hang wit them any time soon. I also visit my older family members so I will not compromise their well being so I can hang with people who clear do not have the same mindset as me.

  9. AA says:

    I am so tired of so many people not wearing a mask. I have only recently started going back to work, and I see people who pull their mask down to talk everyday, or even worse, people who pull it down to cough or scratch their nose. I don’t understand.
    Having said that, I don’t blame individuals really. This government is a joke and they know it. Keeping everything vague to avoid taking responsibility for anything:

    “Work from home… if you can. Unless you can’t. Then go to work. Stay in as much as you can, but support the economy, so go out. Stay home, unless you are an essential worker. But even if you are not, and you work at a pub, shop, etc, go to work so people can go and drink and shop cause the economy!”

    This way, employers in every sector can ask you to do anything they want, cause the govt is not taking responsibility.

    Not enough tests? They blame the people for asking for too many tests (?!)

    2020 is a new level of corruption, idiocy, and indifference.

  10. Kerenza says:

    It has been stupid here in the U.K. – encouraging people to ‘eat out to help out’ at restricted times hence VERY busy restaurants at these times. No wonder the virus is surging again. ‘Try’ to work from home is largely nonsense unless in the public sector. There’s no way I’ll be allowed to work from home. I don’t see that closing pubs at 10pm will help – the drinkers will just drink faster and from earlier. It’s obviously easier to comment in hindsight, but the Tories have been typically hopeless.

    • Sarah says:

      Although don’t forget the civil service are being pushed to go to the office (to help the city centre economy) although today there is a story about a presentation given in their HQ asking people to bring food from home and avoid going out at lunchtime… You can’t make this up and yet people are dying and having their lives irreparably changed and this nonsense is still going on.

  11. Monday says:

    Lol in here I already told folk many asian countries are having second waves but many folks laughed. The same thing is happening everyday its number is increasing in europe where many european are protesting against the govt same with usa with looting and riots. Most are not wearing mask . Idiots.

    • megs283 says:

      Yeah. I want to vomit, because it just hit me that we’re definitely going to have to do it all again. My kids JUST went back to school and daycare, and they’re so happy.

  12. Mina_Esq says:

    There are honestly idiots everywhere. I’m in Ontario now, and my dad is in Switzerland and sister in Austria. We have all seen idiots questioning the pandemic and refusing to comply with guidelines. I guess the main difference is that the governments in basically all countries outside of the States are at least trying to control the spread. Meanwhile, Trump is organizing super-spreader rallies. Sigh. God help us all. This second wave has hit so quickly…

  13. ME says:

    Well this idiot also thought it was a great idea to offer 50% off meals when you dine in at restaurants to get people to go out to eat. You think those restaurants had nothing to do with the increase in numbers? I mean people are also having weddings and parties they shouldn’t be having, but why on earth would you encourage people to eat inside a restaurant ??!!

  14. Lauren says:

    Honestly I’m not even sure how Italy is maintaining the daily infections under 2k. The European countries around us are a hot mess and lots of people have forgotten what it was like in March/April and are walking around with no masks, in groups, drinking, kissing and hugging. I’m still basically not leaving my home unless it’s for food and always with a mask and on my phone I have the state created contact tracing app. I hope we get a vaccine soon because this is exhausting, in the meantime flu shot.