Bojo’s new Rule of Six and COVID slogan is there to protect Granny

Summer is over. Some of us went on holiday. Others went in our masses to the south coast and crowded Brighton beach. We made the most of not having seen our mates in over three months. We reverted to our local pub trips and went back to day drinking in the park. However, whether we like it or not that period of sunshine, booze and being able to elbow a group of 20 mates is coming to an end. 

Boris, now panicking at the rise in cases, is now having to conjure up a new slogan and rule to help combat the increase in COVID-19 cases. 

What does this new ‘Rule of Six’ actually mean? 

From Monday, social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England. This comes amid a steep rise in COVID-19 cases. The new rule applies to people in private homes, indoors and outdoors, and places such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and public outdoor spaces. 

However, there are some exemptions. It won’t apply to schools, workplaces, or COVID-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports. 

According to the BBC, It will be enforced through a £100 fine if people fail to comply, doubling on each offence up to a maximum of £3,200. The new rules – which come into force on 14 September – mark a change to England’s current guidance.

A constant criticism of the government over the past few months has been about how some of the rules have been unclear. Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, was even reported saying that a piece of feedback given to him by the police was that “we needed the rules to be super simple so that everybody knows what they are”. 

Is it a Dark Winter ahead?

One would hope not, but if we’ve learnt anything from this pandemic, then it should be never to worry about three months down the line. Instead, just focus on the here and now. The government’s scientific advisory committee has spoken about how the next 4-6 weeks will be a pivotal period in trying to control the virus. Especially if we don’t want to have the winter we’ve all been dreading. 

Can we follow the rules, though? If you think back to March, we weren’t all that brilliant at following them when the government first implemented social distancing and banning mass gatherings. We all nodded and continued to ignore their advice. Next thing you know… LOCKDOWN. If we don’t take this new rule seriously, as of following Monday, the same could happen again. 

So remember, hands, face, space…

Wash your hands. I mean that shouldn’t be too hard. Just remember to do it after you go to the toilet, before you eat, after you eat, maybe when you come in from having been outside. If your hands are dirty, then wash them. 

Cover your face. This one goes explicitly to all you Libertarians out there who are acting like a bunch of prima donna’s complaining about how wearing a face mask is “clamping down on your liberties and freedoms as a human being”. Just wear a bloody mask, or Granny won’t make it through Christmas. 

Make Space. Again, stay 1 metre apart from people. To be fair, this one is a bit tricky when you are trying to do it, but nobody else in your Sainsbury’s Local appears to show the same courtesy. 

Three rules. All of which are very easy to follow. But the question is, how many of you are actually bothered?

The Battle to save London’s local cafés

We all have a local coffee house that plays an instrumental role in our day-to-day lives. It’s there for us when we are at the most sluggish stage of our morning. It sorts us out with a bacon butty and a decent cup of tea, usually for just under a fiver.

It’s a much-needed pit stop as we venture to work every morning, but since COVID has turned our 9-5 society upside down, we no longer have a need to stop by our local café. In fact, at all possible costs, we have become a society keen on avoiding the grubby greasy spoons. Mainly out of fear for their surfaces potentially being riddled with COVID-infused coffee stains.

It would be foolish of me to try and speak on behalf of the nation’s cafés. I can, however, relay the concerns of one owner, who just happens to run my local café.

I went in for a morning coffee and, while the owner was opening up shop, we had a little chat, like most people do, about COVID. He proceeded to tell me how, after running the Riverside Cafe (Lambeth Pier) for 11 years, he’d never hit such hard times. The owner talked candidly about how, on average, he used to get around 2,000 customers a day. Now, he says he’s lucky if that number reaches 100.

Keeping up with the rental payments on the café is proving to be an ordeal, and it’s even resulted in the poor guy having to dip into his savings accounts and even university funds. As I perched myself on the bar stool, I sat there gazing around at the photos on the wall. It appeared as though this café was a famous little nest for politicians getting their morning brew. The pictures ranged from John Prescott and Nick Clegg to a smattering of A-list celebs and actors.

This little old shack that sits peacefully on the corner of Lambeth Bridge will be my go-to coffee and breakfast pit stop, for as long as they are up and running. Because when the Government talks about trying to get people back to work and seeks to restore society to normality, this is what I believe they are trying to get at.

It’s about small, independently-run coffee stores, eateries, burger vans and market stalls. Their business relies on footfall. They need the 9-to-5 city worker, taxi driver or construction manager to stop in for breakfast and lunch – otherwise, what’s the point? Cafés like the Riverside Lambeth will collect cobwebs, and very soon they will blend into all the other boarded-up shops that have fallen at the hands of this wretched pandemic.

So, if you don’t want to wake up one morning and see that your local café or bakery isn’t opening its doors, then do what you can now. We might all still be working from home, but that doesn’t stop us from walking a few hundred yards in our slippers to grab a bacon bap and a cup of tea. You never know, if enough of us do it, we may just save them from closure.