In mid-July the government actively promoted Go To campaigns for travel and eating out. This was obviously promoted for economic reasons, no doubt in the hopes of stimulating two specific sectors that have suffered huge economic losses caused by the pandemic: hospitality and leisure. Both rely on travel, so by promoting travel, hotels, restaurants, gift shops, cafes, and many other related industries would receive a financial shot in the arm.
To allay fears among consumers, rules regarding how those affected businesses would be allowed to operate were clearly mentioned in the media with video clips showing how places were being rigorously cleaned and disinfected, social distances observed, and clusters avoided. Of course, everyone wore masks.
The desire to stimulate the economy is understandable because the more businesses can operated, even if just to stay afloat, then the less burden on the government to provide financial assistance, which in the long run will inevitably mean finding new money reserves and invariably that leads to increased taxes.
I am rather pessimistic of the hoped-for results because there is no indication that the Covid-19 pandemic is under control or will be brought under control in the near future. Indeed as of this writing there daily increase in infections in Tokyo has been around 200, the most recent being close to 300. What makes this virus so frightening is that it is spread rapidly by those who are asymptomatic. It usually takes about two weeks for the symptoms to show. So, encouraging people to travel, even if precautions are taken in regards to the virus, it seems to me that there is a strong likelihood that the virus will be spread and the situation will rapidly deteriorate. We have an idiomatic expression for such a situation: going to hell in a handbasket.
It is not clear how that expression came about, but its first known usage was recorded in 1682. It has been around for a long time and essentially is the same meaning as “going to hell” which means the same thing: a situation deteriorating into a terrible one.
I’m afraid that the government’s Go To campaigns, though well intended, are a gamble. It would be nice if the results were positive by not resulting in any increase in infections while providing the economic stimulus desired, but not being a gambler by nature and basically adverse to it because gamblers lose more often than they win, I am rather pessimistic and believe these Go To efforts are all going to go to hell in a handbasket.