In the Herald, today:
Scotland’s leading retail association has demanded a firm Scottish Government commitment to an ‘eat out to help out’ style voucher scheme to help struggling shops survive Covid crisis.
The report goes on at some length to back the idea with several business leaders lined up to offer a supportive quote.
As soon as I saw it, I remembered somethings:
Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme drove new COVID-19 infections up by between 8 and 17%, new research finds.
Friday 30 Oct 2020
The government initiative, which cost around £500 million, caused a significant rise in new infections in August and early September accelerating the pandemic into its current second wave. The economic benefits of the scheme, meanwhile, were short-lived. In a new paper, ‘Subsidizing the spread of COVID-19: Evidence from the UK’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme’, Dr Thiemo Fetzer of the CAGE Research Centre in the Economics Department at the University of Warwick analyses the causal impact of ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ on COVID-19 infections. Key findings are:
· Participating restaurants saw an increase in visits of between 10 and 200% compared to 2019.
· Areas with a higher rate of uptake (both from restaurants and consumers) experienced a sharp increase in the emergence of new COVID-19 infection clusters a week after the scheme began.
· Between 8 and 17% of the newly detected COVID-19 infection clusters can be attributed to the scheme.
· Areas with high uptake saw a decline in new infections a week after the scheme ended.
· As the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme ended, visits to restaurants started to decline – indicating that its positive economic impact was short-lived.
Then there was this:
Covid-19 has swept through three streets in southern Bradford causing at least two deaths this month and leaving others in hospital. It’s an outbreak that many think grew out of Eat Out to Help Out, and one that a local authority neighbourhood testing scheme is trying to control, as Dr John Wright of Bradford Royal Infirmary explains. “I was good at science and have a degree in science but I didn’t take Covid seriously at the beginning,” says Abdul Majid. “I used to laugh. I thought there was no such thing. I laughed at it and now it’s laughing at me. It’s heartbreaking.” Abdul Majid’s father, Abdul Saboor, is in intensive care with Covid-19. His uncle, Nawab Ali, died on 17 October, at the age of 61.
64 million people took advantage of the scheme. That worry anyone?