There appears be increasing public debate and confusion surfacing this week as to whether takeaway coffee services can be considered “essential” under national lockdown guidelines.
And it seems like Downing Street doesn’t quite know either.
The ongoing conversation comes amid calls to end “non-essential” takeaway services following claims that allowing such sales is encouraging the level of household mixing that is not permitted under the government guidelines in place for England’s third national lockdown.
Experts and government ministers have been asked a number of times whether people are allowed to leave their home solely for a takeaway coffee and whether they can then drink coffee while out with a friend.
Further queries also then arise around whether people can sit in on bench to drink a coffee while out.
Steve Brine – former Conservative Health Minister – was among the first to spark national interest on BBC Newsnight yesterday evening, where he called for an end to non-essential takeaway sales, including coffee, stating: “There are so many things that we are doing, which are allowed in the rules… but I just don’t think they are wise right now.”
But Downing Street drew criticism earlier yesterday after the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson was unable to confirm if a single person could sit down on a bench under the restrictions, and when pressed whether people can consume takeaway drinks public, he said that “takeaways are allowed, or restaurants or cafes are allowed to provide takeaways”, but “people are allowed to leave their homes if it’s for exercise, not socialising”.
The spokesperson reiterated: “We have set out clearly the rules”
And now today, Kit Malthouse – Minister of State for Crime and Policing – made a number of televised media appearances, and addressed the situation head on by listing the scenarios in which buying a takeaway coffee would be allowed.
Mr Malthouse said people need to use their “common sense” when following lockdown rules.
He told Good Morning Britain that: “If you’re getting coffee on your way to do exercise, or as part of your acquiring food, or one of those reasons you’re allowed to be out of the house, then that is legitimate [but] this is one of those ‘Scotch egg’ moments, where it’s very hard for us legislators to legislate for every single nuance of human behaviour.
“What we are relying on is people having a common sense of themselves of what they think is appropriate.”
Downing Street has clarified today that sitting on a park bench for a “short pause” during exercise is reasonable, but leaving the home just to sit in public is unlawful under lockdown regulations.
The takeaway coffee debate comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the public in a Downing Street press conference yesterday, reinforcing that: “The NHS, more than ever before, needs everybody to be doing something right now – and that something is to follow the rules.
“I know there has been speculation about more restrictions, and we don’t rule out taking further action if it is needed, but it is your actions now that can make a difference.
“Stay at home, and please reduce all social contact that is not absolutely strictly necessary.
“That’s what is needed – act like you have the virus.”
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury reveal unusual baby name
Molly-Mae Hague has finally put the rumours to bed and revealed the name of her first baby with boxer boyfriend Tommy Fury.
Users on social media had been speculating on the name they would choose for their baby girl for weeks.
Many people believed that she would choose Nephele, which translates to ‘Cloud’ inGreek mythology.
That rumour kicked off because of all the cloud emojis the social media star was using in her posts about her pregnancy.
Molly-Mae and Tommy shared their happy news about their new arrival with a joint post last night, showing a black and white photo of the trio in hospital, captioned with the date of their baby’s birth – 23/01/23.
She then added further updates and adorable photos in her Instagram stories, writing: “One week old today. I can’t believe we get to keep you forever.
“Becoming your mum has been the best thing to ever happen to me… it doesn’t seem possible but my love for you grows with each passing moment.
“There is no feeling like holding you in my arms little one, my heart literally explodes.
“Thank you for entering the world safely for us and blessing us with the gift of being your parents.
“We promise to love and care for you unconditionally forever.”
Tommy posted: “I’ll protect you forever my little girl.”
Featured image: Instagram, @mollymae
Manchester Airport is hiring 1,500 new staff in preparation for a ‘busy summer’
Manchester Airport is looking to recruit 1,500 new staff members across the security, customer services, car parks, hospitality, and other sectors.
It’s all in preparation for what the Airport expects to be another “busy summer”.
Having already more recruited more than 700 new staff last year, the UK’s third largest airport wants to give potential new staff a taste at what it’s like to work there by hosting its very-own careers fair at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday 7 February to showcase all the roles on offer within a wide range of sectors and companies inside the premises.
The Airport is preparing for a busy summer season as it enters its first full year free of COVID-related restrictions since 2019.
A total of 1,500 roles are on offer within sectors such as customer services, security, hospitality, and car parking.
More than 25 other firms with operations at the Airport will also be taking part in the jobs fair.
Some of these companies include restaurants and retailers like Boots, Costa Coffee, JD Sport, World Duty Free, Wagamama, and Barburrito, as well as within airline and package holiday provider, Jet2.com, aviation service providers, including Seetec Plus, Menzies Aviation, ABM, Swissport, DNATA, ICTS UK LTD, and Excess Baggage, and several housekeeping service providers.
The Manchester Airport Academy will also be at the careers fair to give people an insight into its pre-employment support courses – which include fully-accredited training schemes for those on jobseekers allowances, who need additional assistance prior to applying for jobs.
Attendees at the jobs fair will get the chance to engage directly with employers, put any questions they may have to those who are recruiting, and boost their chances of getting a job at the Airport.
They’ll also get to learn more about what employers are looking for from applicants.
Successful applicants will get to take advantage of a wide range of employee benefits on offer at Manchester Airport Group (MAG) – which include everything from discounts on public transport when commuting, and free on-site car parking whilst working and when going on holiday, to an excellent pension scheme, training programmes, retail discounts, and so much more.
Speaking ahead of the jobs fair next week, Chris Woodroofe – Managing Director at Manchester Airport – said: “This is always an exciting time of year for us, as we look to welcome new colleagues on board ahead of the busy summer season.
“There is a wide range of opportunities available and I look forward to meeting the successful job-seekers out-and-about at the airport, following on from this event.”