Christmas Parties Go Ahead But With Testing
Government ministers have said that Christmas parties can go ahead, but there should be preparations made for COVID-19 testing.
The Mirror reports that while infections are on the rise, there are fears that this years festive season could look very similar to last year, with celebrations restricted to virtual events again.
However, Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng is wanting to ensure people that they should continue to plan office parties, even with the spectre of further restrictions in December.
The minister was asked on Times Radio if people should be booking venues and paying deposits and said: “Absolutely. I think I already have, we’ve got some arrangements in place and I look forward to having a Christmas party as usual.”
Any return to the restrictions seen at the end of last year could be the final straw for hundreds of hospitality businesses, who typically make a huge share of their profits during the festive season.
The infection rate in the UK is soaring, with close to 50,000 new cases per day and almost 200 deaths, but even while Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that cases could soon reach 100,000 a day, he has resisted pressures to introduce the government’s ‘Plan B’ to deal with the pandemic over the winter season, which includes mandatory mask-wearing and work from home orders.
Instead, he urged people to take a lateral flow test before attending an office party ‘as a precaution’.
Free lateral flow test kits are available to anyone over the age of 11 and are designed for people without coronavirus symptoms who have not been told to self-isolate.
People can collect a maximum of two kits, each of which contains seven tests, from some pharmacies, community centres, and libraries, or can be ordered for home delivery from the government website.
While at a conference, the Health Secretary was asked about which precautions people should be taking as businesses plan their Christmas parties and people continue to enjoy mass gatherings, to which he replied: “Take advantage of that offer of a free lateral flow test.
“Because where we’ve seen that people are if they’re going to a party perhaps that has relatives there that are elderly or grandparents, someone who’s immunocompromised, then it’s really important that you take a lateral flow test.”
He added that the tests are available not because people have symptoms, but to take as a precaution, meaning that parties can go ahead, and testing will ensure they are safer.
Mr Javid also urged people to take rapid tests as part of a weekly routine, adding that a quieter of recent positive cases came from lateral flow tests taken by asymptomatic people as a precaution.
The news comes as government sources told the Telegraph that a ‘Plan C’ is now also being drafted if the vaccination booster jab programme and other measures do not restrict the spread of infections.
This could include restrictions on how many people can meet up from different households but it is hoped that pubs and restaurants will be kept open.
If you’re looking for a private party venue in Milton Keynes, talk to us today.