Andy Richardson: 'If we can’t be nice, we ought to stay home'

Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps, purlease.

World class Britain will soon be back down the boozer as the Government continues to ease lockdown.

Having taken the worst economic hit on the planet and seen ministers perform more missteps than Ann Widdecombe on Strictly, it’s time to forget about PPE, a dodgy app, the scandal in care homes and more own goals than the local Under-11s – at least Marcus Rashford knows how to hit the back of the net – as we drown our sorrows at the pub.

In recent weeks, we’ve tried to spend our way out of trouble as shoppers have hit the high street.

Now it’s time to hit the bottle. Great. Make mine a double, and pour a large one for yourself.

Hospitality faces an existential threat as pubs and restaurants remodel their businesses to take account of social distancing and fears of a second wave.

It’s time for us, the public, to give them a hand.

When the doors are unlocked, owners and employees will be stressed – what if their business fails, what if there’s another outbreak? So we ought not to complain about the minor things. If we’re not going to tip, if we’re going moan about new rules and if we can’t be nice, we ought to stay home.

Supporting the nation’s hospitality sector is a gesture of solidarity, not just a way to unwind.

As our streets and shopping centres become busier, that kindness should extend to all; if we see someone nervous about social distancing in public, we ought to give them more space to put them at ease.

Not that spending in pubs or restaurants will be an option for many.

A vast number of households have seen their debts rise during lockdown and with unemployment likely to increase after furlough, the worst is yet to come.

Yesterday’s Windrush Day reminded us of the contribution made to UK Inc by the 500,000 who travelled hoping for a better life. In recent years, they have been badly let down.

Elsewhere, the horrors of Reading show that dangers are in our midst. Our security forces face an unenviable task as they monitor 40,000 people with a propensity for terror. We must be alert, if not alarmed. The victims of the Reading attacks, like those who died at Manchester Arena, will be forever in our hearts.

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