has succeeded in their attempts to pressure the authorities into opening the pubs in this state - opening them to the point where the "one person per 2sqm" rule will apply and where people can stand at the bar to drink their alcohol.
I know they employ a lot of people. I know a lot of people like to go to the pub, meet friends and have a drink. It is also very obvious that the industry is suffering.
I have a distant cousin in the industry. He has overall responsibility for a very large group of pubs. This year has been a nightmare for him. He has said that they "might as well not open" under the old "one person per 4sqm" rule. Those of them who had the "bottle shops" which sold alcohol to take away have managed to stay on top of the game. Indeed they have done quite nicely out of this.
But the rest? Yes, they have suffered. They have suffered along with a lot of other businesses - and some of those other businesses have gone under. We have lost two in our local shopping centre. They just couldn't keep going. This did not surprise me. I am actually surprised that at least two more businesses have apparently managed to survive. They certainly did not have the very powerful hospitality industry behind them for support.
It all bothers me. Gyms still can't operate at the same level and "play cafes" cannot open at all. Some playgrounds have been closed since February. There are limits on weddings, funerals, going to church, going to a meeting, meeting one another at home and more but pubs have been allowed relaxed rules to a point which is not safe for private individuals?
Now I have to admit that I don't drink alcohol. I am actually allergic. I have a reaction something like touching a stinging nettle - but all over. It isn't something which would kill me but it is very unpleasant. I avoid alcohol. It isn't something I mind - water is a lot cheaper than beer or wine or spirits.
It also means that I don't tend to know the sort of people who arrange to "meet in their local for a drink". It may well be that this is a very important part of their social life - although it seems a rather shallow existence if that is the only way you socialise.
And that bothers me. It bothers me that there are so many people who seem to be dependent on alcohol for their financial well being if they work in hospitality and on their social well being if they are dependent on "the pub" as a means of getting together with friends.
What bothers me is that this doesn't seem productive. The destructive issues around alcohol are well known but that is a different issue. It is the idea that just standing there with a glass in your hand is somehow "having a good time". I'd rather be doing something - not that I can throw a dart or play any pub card games. The occasional quiz nights have too many questions about sport for me to excel in those.
Add a mix of "poker machines" into that and I see little of value in the reopening of the pubs. Taking the dog for a walk and chatting to someone in the street seems to me to have more to offer.
I suppose I am hopeless. I simply don't understand the attraction. Playing with small children in among all those coloured balls in the play cafe looks like a great deal more fun.