Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel has suggested a complete ban on the sale of alcohol in Britain until a coronavirus vaccine is produced.
“Do you know I had a thought on the way here on the Tube. Do you know what it was?” Johnson said to a woman calling into her LBC radio show, slightly patronisingly.
“I don’t know, I can’t believe I’m going to say this on national radio: I thought that — it would be so unpopular — but what if the government banned, not, you know, going out, or seeing your gran in her care home, or all the rest of it, but banned the sale of alcohol, completely, until we had a vaccine” she suggested.
“I think that would probably do much more than £10,000 fines to halt the spread of the virus.”
“Well, I don’t know–” began the caller in reply, before Johnson began talking again, rolling right over her.
“Banned it so that, you know, OK, I’m sure that people will be, like, panic buying at the offy [off-licence] now as I say this — it’s not happening, I’ve no idea about it happening, but it’s something that, you know, if draconian measures are being introduced, I know some countries did. South Africa and India, they banned the sales of alcohol because they know that social distancing and alcohol do not mix,” she insisted.
— LBC (@LBC) September 20, 2020
Britain’s pubs have already been struggling as a result of the pandemic and associated lockdown measures, with one in three pubs reporting they were unable to break even a month after restrictions lifted and one in four pubs and breweries reporting that they do not believe their businesses will be sustainable beyond March 2021.
While the government is yet to hint at a specific alcohol ban, pubs and restaurants could be shut down again, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying of possible closures: “It’s not a no, and it’s not a yes. We’ve been working on this all weekend, we haven’t taken the final decisions about what we need to do in response to the surge that we have seen in the last few weeks.”
On the question of a vaccine, Hancock said that “For the mass rollout, we’re talking about the first bit of next year” — but only “if all goes well.”
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