The Treasury has deleted a social media post urging Brits to “raise a glass” for the reopening of pubs following a backlash.
The finance ministry was branded “irresponsible” over the now-removed Twitter post aimed at promoting the July 4 move to ease the coronavirus lockdown that has shut bars, pubs and restaurants for months.
The post from the official HM Treasury account said: “Grab a drink and raise a glass, pubs are reopening their doors from 4 July. #OpenForBusiness”. An accompanying picture caption said “Pubs Are Back”.
It comes after the government confirmed it will ease restrictions on pubs in England this Saturday after industry warnings of financial devastation.
Pub chain Wetherspoons this week confirmed that it will axe 15 of its pubs as a result of the downturn.
Venues that do reopen will be subject to major changes in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, including a switch to table service and managers being asked to take customers’ contact details to aid with contact tracing efforts.
But the Treasury’s move sparked an immediate backlash on social media, with some users suggesting the wording was insensitive in light of the UK’s coronavirus death toll.
One former civil servant replied saying "read the sodding room", while Labour MP Geraint Davies said: “This is wholly irresponsible publicity by the Conservative government, which will fuel a resurgence of coronavirus infection and death in England.”
And his fellow Labour MP Neil Coyle said: “The pubs are opening just as new lockdowns are being implemented/considered. Insensitive/irresponsible comms from government adding to risks.“