At around 9.15pm this evening, or perhaps yesterday depending on when you’re reading this, Health Secretary Matt Hancock dropped the news via Twitter that stricter lockdown measures would be in place for much of the North West.
To quote directly, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas – Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Bradfoird, Calderdale, Kirklees.
Or, if you were to read it another way, most of East Lancashire. And everyone has the same questions.
Do these rules apply to all indoor settings or are we technically allowed to go on the ale with whoever we like?
Why has Rossendale, three new cases in the last week, been included but not Preston, with 25 new cases?
Why has this news been announced on Twitter with a little over two hours notice with no room for any queries or questions on what is or isn’t allowed?
They’re just a snippet but the reality is local figures are scrambling to provide clarity on an issue where the government has failed to do so. MPs are putting out conflicting advice and messages. To have this magnitude of announcement go out without the required level of detail is negligent. Making the announcement on Twitter, rather than on TV, means that much of the North West will still be waiting to hear about this – and that too is negligent.
In under an hour at the time of writing, our part of the world will be living under different restrictions than it was earlier – to protect ourselves from a very real threat. Only, nobody has bothered to tell us exactly what they actually are.