Monday 19 July was billed as England’s “freedom day”, signalling Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s conquest of the covid-19 virus.
It was to be his virus victory day when he would “summon the spirit of Churchill” in a speech to be given at “an historic venue” associated with the wartime leader.
This speech was quietly cancelled, after a U-turn on his decision not to self-isolate and on seeing increasing anger across the NHS, social care, schools, supermarkets, hospitality and transport sectors.
At times of national crisis, it is essential that messaging is clear and coherent.
Unfortunately, the only consistency in the government’s communications around covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns has been their inconsistency.
The messaging has all too often been confused and consequently often misunderstood.
Covid cases remain persistently high in Brighton and Hove, and by lifting the covid restrictions, the government has left workers in a precarious and unsafe position.
Just over a week ago, our local Labour councillors launched a new campaign with the GMB union for covid-safe public spaces.
It is wrong to expect our shops, restaurants, pubs, bars, cinemas and buses to open as usual with no protection from coronavirus in place.
So we are pledging to work with residents and local businesses to keep often-crowded spaces covid-safe.
Our pledge recognises the risk that the pandemic continues to pose to workers and residents and asks everyone to keep wearing masks and maintaining distance in public spaces, particularly indoors.
During our Action Day on Saturday, I joined Labour Party councillors and members to deliver our covid safety posters to local businesses around the city.
Thank you to all those businesses that welcomed our message.
We are also writing to key institutions and organisations in the city, such as Brighton and Hove City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, Brighton and Hove Bus Company, the local taxi trade, Churchill Square shopping centre and more, asking them to sign our pledge and join our campaign to protect workers and residents from covid-19.
If we want our valuable services and shops to stay open, we must protect the staff.
To sign our pledge and find out more, visit www.brightonhovelabour.com/covid-safe-public-spaces.
Councillor John Allcock is the joint leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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