The Tories had a big problem with one of these pictures but not the other. Why could that be?

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Thursday 25 June 2020 11:30
news

Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?

So nice that half the country appears to have upped sticks and flocked to the beach, amid confused messaging from the top about what exactly is, or isn’t allowed.

For the record, no, we’re not supposed to be going to the beach en masse.

The much-vaunted relaxing of rules doesn’t kick in until 4 July and even then, large gatherings are still not permitted.

Technically, we’re all still supposed to be social distancing, although the 2m rule has been amended in favour of staying 2m apart “where possible” and wearing masks at all time.

Obviously, this has not worked out in practice.

But amid the pictures of packed beaches, lack of protective gear and a weekend of hot weather fast approaching, the silence of the likes of Boris Johnson and his cabinet is deafening.

It’s baffling given many top Tories were so publicly concerned about preserving social distancing during the Black Lives Matter protests just a few weeks ago.

Even though protesters wore masks and protective equipment and attempted to socially distance.

In fact, on the 8 June, Boris even directly referenced protesters “flouting” social distancing.

In a public address, Johnson condemned the protests, saying that “after such sacrifice” the UK couldn’t “let [Covid-19] get out of control”.

He continued:

I will not support those who flout the rules on social distancing, for the obvious reasons that we risk a new infection at a critical time.

Research from the US suggests that BLM protests haven’t led to a new spike in Covid-19 cases.

Johnson wasn’t the only one to slam the lack of social distancing at BLM protests; home secretary Priti Patel warned that large gatherings under coronavirus laws were “illegal” and that she opposed the demonstrations.

Last weekend she even instructed the public not to head to any protests, given the “unprecedented national health emergency”.

As did her colleague, health secretary Matt Hancock.

In a Downing Street briefing, Hancock said he was “appalled” by the death of George Floyd but added:

We’re still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat. 

The reason it’s vital people stick to the rules this weekend is to protect themselves and their families from this horrific disease. 

So please, for the safety of your loved ones, please do not attend large gatherings, including demonstrations, of more than six people. 

We all need to stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

Notably, none of the ministers have yet commented on those flooding to beaches, mostly without masks or any actual reasons to be there.

Despite scenes seen at locations like Southend-on-Sea.

Or is it only OK to break social distancing when it’s not got anything to do with protesting racism?

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