My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, who was a model of lucidity, as always. I thank my noble friend the Minister for his clear exposition of these rules; nobody can doubt his commitment and effort in the task of tackling this dreadful virus.
In principle, I support these regulations, designed as they are to protect the public and keep businesses open. However, I suggest to my noble friend that it would be helpful if the Government published evidence of the transmission rate at hospitality venues. I am sure we all read statistics in the media. Sometimes, it seems that as many as 40% to 50% of the areas where there is transmission are hospitality venues. It would reassure the public if the Government published the evidence. It would show the public and those who run hospitality venues that this is the right move.
I take my noble friend up on one point. He said that we all want to avoid a second lockdown. We should not forget that, for a massive part of our country, there is a second lockdown. We should look for consistency in how we implement these regulations, which areas go into lockdown and the reasons for it. Again, the Government should publish the evidence for this.
I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, about businesses that are affected and need assistance, but there is also the question of extra costs for the police and local authorities in enforcing these regulations. As I say, one can laugh at the Cromwellian-seeming restrictions on singing and dancing, but if the evidence shows that we should avoid this because there is a danger of transmission, people would understand.
In conclusion, what evidence is there on mingling—people from different tables of six meeting in such venues—and how will that be tackled? I hope this will be dealt with with common sense. With those considerations and provisos, I support these regulations.