The Treasury has deleted a tweet encouraging people to ‘raise a glass’ when pubs reopen on ‘Super Saturday’ after it was met with huge public backlash.
The government department shared a video of wine glasses clinking, accompanied with laughter sound effects, to hail the reopening of pubs on Saturday.
In the post, published on its official Twitter account on Wednesday evening, officials wrote: ‘Grab a drink and raise a glass, Pubs are reopening their doors from 4 July. #OpenForBusiness’.
The rash attempt to celebrate the easing of lockdown measures did not go down well with Twitter users, who said the message was ‘insensitive’.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan was one of the first to slam the tweet, writing: ‘This must be the most tone-deaf tweet in history. 65k people dead, the economy catering, millions facing unemployment.. and the Treasury wants us all to go out on the piss & celebrate.’
‘It is utterly insane’, Stu Moran wrote. ‘The government is urging people to go inside to places where they’ll drink, without a mask, and spend time with strangers with no useful contact tracing system or app, cases no longer falling and in some places now rising quickly again.’
Cranfield University scholar Tracey Bailey took a different view: ‘Thanks, but I’d rather the focus be on the country being safe enough for my children to go back to school.’
Beth said the message encouraged people to break social distancing rules: ‘Unbelievable. And clink-ing glasses suggests you’re not socially distanced.’
Others were in disbelief: ‘Is this for real? Just when you think this government cannot get any more crass!’.
@johndalston1 said it was ‘beyond a joke’ while others called it ‘shameful’. @Henrynonumbers wrote: ‘How crass and all the while the death toll is increasing.’
@Clairefairy1 said the government’s social media team needed ‘sorting out’. Author Nick Harkaway was more blunt, calling the Treasury officials ‘nitwits’.
Some just saw some humour in what the government was trying to do. Matt Kerride redubbed this weekend’s re-openings as ‘Super spreader Saturday’.
@cfmonk ridiculed attempts to hide the tweet: ‘They’ve tried to delete this but failed. Cretins.’
Others were a little more worried. Deb Klemperer wrote: ‘I don’t understand this. I am pleased for my pals and family who run pubs – they have prepared carefully. But I can see trouble – who will practise social distancing after their third pint?’