With the leaked Government threats of curfews and lockdowns, Oakman Inns’ Chairman, Peter Borg-Neal (pictured), whose company, Oakman Inns owns 28 pubs across Southern England and the Midlands, is challenging Matt Hancock to prove that the spike in England’s case increase emanates from pubs and restaurants.
This is despite being repeatedly advised by his own officials at PHE that all ARI cases in pubs & restaurants are consistently low. Last week, for example, there were less than 34 cases reported across the entire pub and restaurant sector, despite record visits during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
The reality is that the highest incidents are in care homes which ludicrously suggests thousands of ‘grannies’ going down to the pub.
Given the existential nature of the threat to our economy and the clear evidence that the Secretary of State for Health has, either deliberately or accidentally, misled the nation, he believes that the situation needs to come under full Parliamentary scrutiny.
Facts from Oakman
• Oakman Inns, like many other responsible hospitality businesses has massively invested already-stretched funds into creating safe environments in line with Government advice and local and national legal requirements. We have continued to reinvent ourselves so that that their staff can work safely and their customers can come and eat, drink and socialise in seated only settings safely.
• We employ over 1,000 people and we are in comparison to many pub companies quite small and the impact of a second lockdown must lead to massive job cuts and a complete end to all capital expenditure and investment.
• We have been stringently complying with the NHS Test & Trace system.
• Many politicians appear to be simply repeating the same incorrect generalisations that suggest that all pubs and restaurants are hotbeds of infection and drunken behaviour.
On Friday’s Radio 4 Today programme, Matt Hancock said, “…we know that the vast majority of transmissions happen in social settings whether that's in hospitality or in people's own homes…”. He went on to say: “The good news is that the proportion of cases being passed on in workplaces is relatively low…”
According to the latest PHE statistics neither of these statements are true:
- The reality is that contrary to advice being issued by the scientists and the Government, incidents in food, pub and restaurant settings are very low and NOT the primary cause of increased infection
- Pubs and restaurants opened eleven weeks ago and there was no spike in cases – indeed they continued to decline
- What has happened in recent weeks is a return to work and a return to school
• It is vital that Parliament is allowed to scrutinise the inaccuracies and kneejerk generalisations based on little more than ill-founded preconceptions that have led to growing unemployment and a collapsing economy.