Pubs, Restaurants and Hairdressers to Reopen
• On Tuesday, Boris Johnson set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.
• From Saturday 4 July pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.
• Yay… If we don’t see a discernible increase in bookings from 4 July, we never will!
• On 4 July we are going to out and party like it’s 1999.
Govt. Data Shows Taxi Drivers Are High Risk
• Figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) , released in May, found male taxi cab drivers and chauffeurs had higher rates of deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales than doctors, nurses and care workers.
• Moreover, data released today has reaffirmed the data from last May. The data shows that that 17 specific occupations were found to have raised rates of death involving COVID-19, some of which included:
- Taxi drivers and chauffeurs (65.3 deaths per 100,000; 134 deaths)
- Bus and coach drivers (44.2 deaths per 100,000; 53 deaths)
- Chefs (56.8 deaths per 100,000; 49 deaths)
- Sales and retail assistants (34.2 deaths per 100,000; 43 deaths).
• Scientists believe private hire drivers are particularly at risk, and the longer the journey, the bigger the risk.
• The experts argue that risks are higher in private hire vehicles because unlike black cabs, there is no physical barrier separating the driver and the passengers as people are close together and if the windows aren't open, the air can be quite stagnant.
• See here for more details the data form the ONS.
• Screens, good use of ventilation and cleaning the cabs after each journey seems to be the way to help manage this issue at present.
Bradford Council Announces Safety Measures for Taxis
• The Council is to provide the funds for taxi drivers to set up clear flexible screens for use in each vehicle as well as 10 facemasks and two bottles of sanitising gel per vehicle in an initiative costing £233,000.
• The equipment will be available from a private contractor and Bradford Council’s Licencing Service will contact the taxi operators to arrange collection of the hand sanitisers, facemasks and how best to order and supply screens for their vehicles.
• The council states that drivers fitting them will need to reassure themselves that the screens comply with the conditions set by their insurance provider. See here for more details.
• Anything that gets passengers back into cabs in greater numbers is viewed positively and it will be interesting to see how many other councils employ similar schemes in light of the risk private hire drivers are taking.
Uber Under Pressure From Prosecutors in California
• A prosecutor in California has taken his most aggressive step yet in his attempt to force Uber and other gig economy companies to treat their workers as employees.
• The state attorney-general on Wednesday filed a request for a preliminary injunction in their lawsuit against the gig companies.
• If granted, it would mean the companies must reclassify their workers in a matter of weeks.
• The motion will be discussed at a hearing due to take place on August 6.
• Meanwhile, about 50 Uber drivers in San Francisco blocked the street outside the home of the company’s CEO, demanding employee benefits and better provisions for protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
• See here for film of the protest outside the CEO’s house.
• This is just in California… we will report on the issue when it’s decided.
Uber Shelves Digital Wallet Ambitions
• According to press reports, an email sent to employees of Uber on Thursday by its CEO said that company will “deprioritize” several of its finance-related projects, which have included credit cards, a digital wallet and instant payments for drivers.
• The CEO is really playing it safe, and is focused on keeping his job and stock options at the expense of future growth. Uber is weakening???
“R” Value & Infections Curve
• The government last Friday published UK wide and regional growth rates for England for the first time, alongside R values.
• The current growth rate for the UK is -4% to -2% and the R value for the UK, remains at 0.7-0.9.
• The growth rate reflects how quickly the number of infections are changing day-by-day. It is an approximation of the change of number infections each day and If the growth rate is greater than zero (+ positive), then the disease will grow, and if the growth rate is less than zero then the disease will shrink.
• Meanwhile, the UK’s daily new infections and death rates continues to show a flattening trend (see chart below).
• However, it’s worth noting that the daily infections rate in the US is starting to spike again (see following chart).
• The UK’s new daily infections curve is still flattening (see above chart), the estimated "R" value, is still, on average, estimated to be below 1 across the UK.
• Hopefully the recent development of the spread of the disease in the US is not indicative of what will happen in the UK going forward.
• Let's hope we continue to see sustained improvements going forward despite increased volumes of people circulating again, especially after 4 July.
“I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.”