05 July 2022

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Is government advice over Christmas parties actually sensible? Given the choice would you have parties or Christmas?
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Is government advice over Christmas parties actually sensible? Given the choice would you have parties or Christmas?

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Just remember – take care because disease is all around you

How can government advice over Christmas parties be right when there are such high risks of people testing positive?

We quite understand that the government does not want to cancel Christmas – again – but surely the advice it is giving at the moment could bring about an ipso facto closedown anyway.

The problem of course is Omicron which has introduced a new feature into the system, namely that if you are present at an event, like a party, and someone tests positive with Omicron then there is a serious chance that the entire group of people will have to go off and self-isolate. As the number of Omicron cases is on the up, as we get closer to Christmas there will no doubt be more of them around.

The public is beginning to get its own position sorted out now. Bookings for parties, hotel rooms, dinners and everything are beginning to be cancelled. The reason is because businesses are seeing the risk now of being closed down while their staff self isolate and there is also a general view that it is risky to fix events before Christmas because they may yet have to be cancelled resulting in a loss of cash.

Word is now slowly leaking out of South Africa that Omicron could be leading to greater levels of infection; certainly if there is any trend discernible yet, it is on the bad side of things.

The hospitality industry is already beginning to talk of the festive season being lost and of course Christmas is the biggest sales period of the year for hospitality. It is all the worse for businesses which have already placed orders for supplies because they may find they cannot in fact use them.

So when the Health Secretary says the government has acted very speedily, he is not wrong but is the advice the government is giving really “best advice” in the circumstances? The public voting with its feet suggests that it might not be and they are not going to take it. Indeed there is a strong feeling that the government is giving mixed messages leading only to confusion.

It also appears that more people are beginning to work from home again which will certainly impact on shops serving the work community as well as the throwing of office and works parties.

It’s a fair old mess and this is not just restricted to the UK. Somehow the world as a whole has managed to let a relatively controlled situation earlier in the year get completely out of control. Who would have thought that European countries would have been talking about compulsory vaccination? More restrictions to crossing international borders are coming in and the position can only get worse as the month goes on.

As we watch the UK’s own statistics and note the increase in Omicron cases, one in Wales now, it is not rocket science to realise that there is a great deal of virus out there – the ONS reckon 1 in 60 is carrying it at the moment. 50,584 new cases recorded today bringing the seven day rollup to 312,450 while deaths and patients admitted manage to remain in the green with a seven day drop – but not huge.

So probably the best way to look at the office party is that larger the number of attendees, the greater the prospect of disruption whilst smaller groups still stand a far chance of coming through unscathed.

Adrian Leopard      03-12-21

Photo Edgar Chaparro

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