Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Shopping and Ascot open for business. The cost of eating in the summer holidays. Travelling.

Non-essential shops opened yesterday and people inevitably, predictably, queued up outside so that they could eventually go in and buy non-essential items. Here is a list of some of the things people bought at John Lewis stores, culled from one of the newspapers online.

Top sellers in the first two hours of trading at Kingston John Lewis:

* Buttons 
* British Fashion Council face coverings
* Egg cups
* China sets
* Baby sleepsuits

Top sellers in the first two hours of trading at Poole John Lewis: 

* Towels 
* Sofas 
* Pillowcases and bed sheets 
* Televisions 
* Printer cartridges

Some things are understandable. Babies will have grown out of sleepsuits. And no doubt parents who have been printing worksheets for their children to complete at home will have found their printer cartridges running out. But buttons? How many buttons can you need to buy? And sofas? Who is so desperate for a new sofa that they need to go out and buy one on the first day of shops opening again?

As Royal Ascot goes ahead without spectators, will the ladies who normally attend watch from home wearing ridiculously beautiful / beautifully ridiculous hats? Who will be the influencer to organise that?

The government has decided to extend through the school holidays the free school meals voucher scheme, I just heard on the radio. So a bit of direct action by a young footballer has had some effect. Who says young stars should keep out of politics?

And this whole discussion about free school meals points out once again that it’s the poorest who have been most severely affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Those who can afford to think about holidays abroad might not get much chance to travel far in the near future. Greece won’t accept Britons. Perhaps rightly so. For New Zealand, which declared itself Covid-19 free just a few weeks ago, allowed a couple of women from the UK to fly there to visit a dying relative. Both women turned out to be suffering from the virus. Fortunately, it seems that quarantine and further checks have contained the virus and hopefully will prevent new contagion. How easily they could have slipped back into lockdown.

Meanwhile, Spain is talking about British visitors, unlike those from other European countries, having to go into two weeks quarantine on arrival - possibly a reaction to the same measure being instituted here for people flying in from abroad.

You would think that every country would want to get its tourism industry up and running again. And you would think that some international cooperation would help. And then this bit of information pops up:-

 “Tourism and travel leaders have expressed disappointment and frustration after it emerged that the UK will not be taking part in an EU-led data-sharing project to reboot tourism as lockdowns lift. The European commission has launched an app and website that provide travellers with real-time information about coronavirus rules and the status of infections in each European country.
A commission spokesman told the Guardian the UK was not included as the government had not asked to be involved. “No information was provided by the UK. The information was based on questionnaires and I don’t believe we have received information from the UK,” he said. “We are open to the participation by [non-EU countries], provided they make the request and, secondly, they commit to providing updated and regular information to the website … The UK has not made such a request to participate.””

It looks a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face! But in the meantime, we shall continue to follow the guidelines. And I don’t see us travelling any time very soon.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone?

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