You could just see this coming, couldn’t you? During much of the pandemic, there was a joke that the easiest way to find out what British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would do next was to check what the Welsh and Scottish administrations did three weeks earlier.
And during a week when Mr Johnson has been telling the media in press conferences that they’re not closing nightclubs or banning Christmas parties and such – whilst his Chief Medical Officer stands next to him telling everyone to limit their socialising – the silence from the devolved administrations has been notable.
England reopened their nightclubs on July 19th, Wales on August 7th, Scotland on August 9th and Northern Ireland on October 31st. And there was always a question of what would happen if Covid cases escalated again come winter – as indeed they’re doing this week, with over 88,000 new cases in the UK yesterday.
Well, now we know. Last night, the Welsh government confirmed nightclubs had to close from December 27th. Quite why they’ve chosen this date – as of today, ten whole days away – is a mystery. But if nothing else, it gives away the direction of travel.
Expect similar announcements from Scotland and Northern Ireland in the near future. And once Mr Johnson has denied the suggestion he’s thinking of closing England’s nightclubs a few more times, expect him to probably announce he’ll do what he said he wouldn’t.
Expect also a lack of real evidence confirming their status as hotbeds of transmission – just like every other time in the past. But amidst all this, one question remains.
Who’s paying this time? The UK-wide furlough scheme finished on September 30th, and I have heard nothing about its return. Which leaves three possibilities – the Welsh government is paying it themselves, the British government will soon announce its return or that nightclubs will be left to fend for themselves.
This blog is meant to be winding down for Christmas – and there isn’t a chance of this happening right now…