I think Chris Whitty on this occasion is spot on with his comments, we have reached the limits of what we can open without causing a spike in infections. The positive rate of infections has been sitting at 1.1% for the last three weeks, it hasn't decreased or increased. (Numbers look higher this week but due to testing in targeted areas). Close more businesses down, positive rate shrinks and less infections, but open more things up and the positive rate could skyrocket.There is now apparently a concern that pubs & restaurants may have to close again in the UK in order to get children back into school in September: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12283045/pubs-restaurants-shut-schools-reopen-fully-scientists-warn/
Could this see UK theme parks closed again after the summer holidays?
It's not long before pupils are due to go back to school, I'm actually due to go to university myself. There's already been one year of compromised education, all the way from primary to secondary, a levels and gcses cancelled, pupils missing months of vital education. As far as I'm aware, next summer's a levels have already been pushed back to July. This cannot afford to be pushed back any further or more pupil's education will be hindered and the whole structure of the education system could fall apart.
As far as I'm clear the governments plan is to hold the level of infections at this current level until we have scientific breakthrough. Open schools and unis back up, increased social interaction, infections could skyrocket. There has to be a counteracting measure to prevent cases climbing at exponential rates which would put us back into national shutdown. Close businesses such as pubs, and more businesses will go bust and the economy will shrink even further. There needs to be a balance moving forwards.
My personal view is that both not reopening schools or closing pubs are not viable solutions. One of these options has fundamental implications to the future of society and the other cripples the economy. So how do we move forwards?
In my opinion, the way forward is for the UK to finally get strict. This will need to happen through introduction of late night curfews to prevent people staying out too late and getting too drunk and not social distancing, if you are caught on the streets, instant fine. Mandatory masks in all enclosed public spaces, including at restaurants when not sat at your table. Too many people are currently slipping past the mask rules as they think that rules don't apply to them. Immediate fines for those not complying with the rules unless they have a genuine exemption. People not social distancing and gathering in groups above the recommended allowance results in immediate fines and shutdowns of gatherings.
I may be sounding strict and harsh, but we need to get the schools open again, whilst keeping the economy running. If schools open up and we continually let people slip past the rules like we are at the moment, then infection rates will soar again and things will have to close down. The only way I see it feasible to have everything open without more people losing their lives is to toughen up on the rules, and actually enforce them. At the moment the rules are half there, but they aren't enforced, which is all going to have impacts on the infection rate.
On the subject of working at home, for those who have been shielding I think It is very important that they continue to work at home even though the shielding program has ended. If we send everyone back to the office, the trains will get overwhelmed with people leading to viral transmission and offices will have more local outbreaks, because face it, workers aren't going to bother social distancing. It needs to be a fine balance between getting the right amount of people back to the office so numbers don't increase and saving the economy, sending everyone back will just lead to overwhelming the health care system once again.