Pubs could close again in ‘trade off’ with schools, says scientist
Pubs or other activities in England could be forced to close again to allow schools to fully reopen next month, said one of the government’s top scientific advisers.
Prof Graham Medley told the BBC there may need to be a Covid-19 “trade-off”, with the re-opening of schools seen as a “priority” for children’s wellbeing.
Asked whether restrictions of other activities may be needed to allow schools to reopen as planned, Prof Medley, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) sub-group on pandemic modelling, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think that’s quite possible.
“I think we’re in a situation whereby most people think that opening schools is a priority for the health and wellbeing of children and that when we do that we are going to reconnect lots of households.
“And so actually, closing some of the other networks, some of the other activities may well be required to enable us to open schools.
“It might come down to a question of which do you trade off against each other, and then that’s a matter of prioritising. Do we think pubs are more important than schools?”
The comments came after England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Witty said the country was “near the limit” of opening up society.
And measures due to come in this weekend, including the reopening of casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and some beauty services, as well as the return of indoor performances and pilots of large gatherings in sports venues and conference centres, have been postponed for at least a fortnight.
The expansion of wedding receptions to allow up to 30 people was also put on hold.