London: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged that his government’s summer plan to subsidize dining out may have helped spread the coronavirus.
Under the “Eat Out to Help Out” drive, the government paid up to 10 pounds ($12.94) per person toward the cost of a meal in a restaurant or cafe in an attempt to kick-start the economy and encourage people to spend money again after the pandemic lockdown.
The surge in Covid-19 infections since September has forced Johnson to clamp down on the hospitality sector, imposing a 10 p.m. closing time curfew and tighter rules on wearing face coverings in pubs and restaurants.
In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, Johnson defended the “Eat Out to Help Out” program for helping to protect millions of jobs in the hospitality industry but conceded that it may have had an impact on infections.
“It was very important to keep those jobs going,” Johnson said. “Insofar as that scheme may have helped to spread the virus, then obviously we need to counteract that.” – Bloomberg