A DEAR FRIEND of mine died recently, a very active man who was in so many committees and had so many hobbies that under normal circumstance, the church would have been packed. I, along with a handful of others, lined the road when his hearse left his home. The church service was attended by 20 of the family.
An anger rose in me when I thought of the scenes of pubs and restaurants full of people from different households having a great time, yet here I am not able to pay my respects and offer my support to the family. The anger was not at the people in the pubs but in the person who had created the rules supposedly based on scientific advice.
What scientific advice has been received that says 60 people wearing masks attending a 45 minute funeral are at greater risk of infection than people attending restaurants or pubs where the people in the room will be changing regularly in one evening with people also moving around going to the toilets? I hate asking questions I can’t answer but this one is beyond me.
This is only one of the illogical decisions the First Minister has inflicted on us. Ms Sturgeon claims that these restrictions are there to keep us safe, protect others and save lives. So let’s look at some of the other activities we can and can’t do. With the update on 20 August we now know that from 24 August outdoor contact sports are acceptable but gyms can’t open until 31 August. As far as I know, fresh air does not protect you from Covid and in gyms with social distancing surely this would be less risky than a rugby tackle?
Duncan Bannatyne, the Scottish entrepreneur has been rightly incandescent that he has not been able to open his health club gyms and warned he would have to lay off all his 600 Scottish staff if gyms didn’t open by the end of August. Is it a coincidence that Ms Sturgeon has finally chosen this date, having initially stated that gyms would not open until 14 September at the earliest? I’ll leave you to decide.
Non-essential offices seem to be causing Sturgeon nightmares. I’m really not sure what she thinks staff in non-essential offices do that means they can’t return to their work with physical distancing any time soon. The date for opening up offices is being pushed back at every three-week review. Our economy relies on people who work in offices. Many roles can’t be done from home for logistical reasons, no equipment or no access to secure systems.
According to the Scottish Government website, essential services are “the fundamental services that underpin daily life and ensure the country continues to function”. What does this mean? If we don’t have people back at work due to these restrictions, businesses will fold. If too many businesses close, the country would surely no longer continue to function at its best. We would end up with mass unemployment, double figure interest rates and high inflation. Is that a price worth paying when we have companies who have already created systems to have staff attend their offices?
Why is this a riskier environment than the pubs I spoke about earlier? If someone doesn’t adhere to the rules in a pub, they could be evicted. Hardly a severe punishment but if an employee is aware that they could be disciplined or sacked, they are less likely to behave in an irresponsible manner.
Does she have any idea of the cost involved to have staff work from home - the cost of IT equipment, mobile phones, network access and capacity? Businesses are finding Covid a costly event without the additional expense of buying new mobile IT equipment. The accusation that is often made of politicians is that they are unaware of normal life. Nicola Sturgeon is a classic example of this.
Time will tell how Nicola Sturgeon’s decisions on Covid will be viewed. Currently they appear to be inconsistent and unreasoned. She claims to be taking a cautious approach but some of her decisions could be considered reckless and damaging to the economy and our quality of life.