London’s Evening Standard’s front page splash yesterday screamed: Virus cases fall in swathes of London.
The article went on to document the £6 billion wipe out that the London economy will endure through this month-long second lock down and questioned whether the capital needed to shut up shop?
This is an urgent question, but it has already been answered by the Westminster government, SAGE and the London mayor.
London is not unique in seeing all non-essential retail shutting down at the same time covid cases are falling. That does not, alone, mean we should not lock down, but it does suggest that — if we continue to follow the data — it should be possible to reopen by December 3 at the latest.
Every week earlier would be a lifeline for jewellers, and the urgency of reopening quickly could not be more graphically illustrated than during a tour of London’s West End on the first day of lock down 2.0 by WatchPro’s co-founder and editor, Rob Corder.
It is worth a reminder that non-essential retail accounts for a tiny percentage of covid cases in this country. This table is from Public Health England for the final week of October.
The closest equivalent to jewellers is the “clothes shopping” category, which accounted for 1.1% of covid cases registered with the Track and Trace system.