The Handbook
The Handbook

This time last week we were saying that nothing could be worse than 2020. So in it’s first ‘hold my beer’ moment of 2021 here we are back in full lockdown. Like we were in March.

The PM went on telly last night to address the nation and tell us, yet again, that it’s really really bad and we have to stay indoors. The whole thing could’ve just been someone at Downing Street hitting play on the VCR of any of Boris’s previous ‘back to lockdown’ addresses but for one thing: the vaccine.

The ongoing vaccination programme gives us a real and tangible hope that we really might be out of this in a matter of weeks. And that really is something to be hopeful about. But apart from that, here’s what you need to know today…

"I got you babe", but though it may feel like Groundhog Day, there really is reason to be hopeful...

Yawn… Okay, what is it this time?

When you’re at primary school you can just write ‘and then they woke up and it was all a dream’ and that’s the end of the story. It seems that for us the nightmare is continuing. We’re back in lockdown.

Way to boost moral…

Yeah, I’m sorry to be a downer, it’s just that I’ve written these things about once a week since March and they’re all basically the same.

No they’re not. You’ve got Twitter memes in this one!

Oh that’s true. Maybe it’s not all that bad after all?

Exactly, that’s the spirit. Now tell me what’s going on. Let’s get a pint?

Are you kidding? Yes, you’re kidding. So we’re back into lockdown along similar lines to the one we plunged into back in March.

So no restaurants, gyms and whatever? Isn’t that just Tier 4?

Well it’s similar, restaurants and hospitality will remain ‘shuttered’ but the new guidance will also close all schools and allow people to leave the house once a day and only for specific reasons or one spell of exercise.

Oh man! At least we can still get that pint…

Oh, yeah. No we can’t. This time round takeaway pints are being cut. Takeaways will be able to deliver, but with the exception of alcohol. Basically everyone was taking the piss and ordering pints then ┬ácongregating in covid circles to drink them outside the pubs. Which is kind of the opposite of the point.

I thought they were, like, TOTALLY adamant that schools would stay open?

As a rule of thumb is that if the government sends Michael Gove onto the telly to insist something will happen, then expect a u-turn saying the total opposite within 48 hours. It’s a dead tell.

And so when Govey faced down reporters to tell them that primary schools would deffo be open this weekend it was clearly only a matter of minutes until they weren’t.

Great. So now I’ve got next doors kids screaming while I try and make client calls in my kitchen?

Not if they’re toddlers. For some slightly illogical reason nursery age children can continue to go into kindergarten as normal. On reflection it’s probably because it’s simpler to keep them in bubbles and also parents simply cannot work with a two year old screeching around the house in the same way a parent of a 14 year old might.

Is golf still on?

Bad news for bad trousers wearers, golf is off. Which is unfortunate given golfers are statistically far more likely to have received the vaccine…

What about on the telly?

Ah, pro sports can actually continue. But for the rest of us it’s a hard no.

Any chance the government’s going to help out?

Hospitality and retail will be given another lifeline handout of ┬ú4,000, ┬ú6,000 and ┬ú9,000 depending on the value of the space they occupy. But the government will be announcing further measures today with Chancellor Rishi Sunak due to announce what’s happening.

But with government debt soaring and so much support already given, we’ll be interested to see exactly how he intends to prune the magic money tree this time around.

You promised me 5 reasons to be hopeful. You’d better f**king deliver…

Pressure. Right…

1. The Vaccine

Really this is the silver bullet here. We have a vaccine that’s viable, that’s produced here and that’s being put into people’s arms at a rate of knots. We’ve vaccinated well over a million people now, which is good going. France has only vaccinated 500. People, not thousand.

2. Over by Valentine’s

Boris raised the spectre that by Valentine’s (‘with a fair wind’ (medical term)) we should have vaccinated everyone over 70. Given this is the overwhelming majority of those who end up hospitalised, this means that we will be able to start finally (actually finally) in February and March. Which is quite something.

3. The daily briefing will be back

Bear with me… Boris or his proxies will have to go on the telly every single day to be publicly grilled by journalists as to how many doses of the vaccine they’ve managed to stuff into people’s arms. This will really focus their attention on delivering. Which is only a good thing. The first one’s today at 5pm…

4. You get to avoid your colleagues and boss for a little bit longer

Personally I’m missing my wonderful co-workers, but if you’ve a trickier relationship with your colleagues then you’re probably grateful for another couple months of being able to sleep in until five to nine and not having to ask after everyone’s weekends.

5. Time for some serious holiday planning

Why not use this extra couple of months to plan an all-out post lockdown holiday? You’ve likely got about a month’s worth of holiday banked from last year to make it a real blow-out.

And, that’s about it. And three of them were the vaccine. And two were a bit lame. So, really, there’s just one reason to be hopeful. Thank goodness it’s a really big one.

Hashtag stay safe people. We’ll be here for you.

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