Closed petition A national holiday and day of remembrance for those lost in the COVID pandemic

I would like the Government to create a national holiday & day of remembrance for all the lives lost in the COVID pandemic. I propose this to be on the 23rd March as this is the date a national lockdown began in the UK.

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I lost my father, Christopher Cooper on the 6th December 2020 to Covid Pneumonia. He was a fit and healthy 63 year old, with no underlying medical conditions. This has truly devastated us as a family.

As of 8/01/21 there are 78,508 recorded Covid-related deaths in the UK and 1.9 Million deaths across the world.

The pandemic is still here and taking more lives each day. I feel it is important that as a country we are able to remember all those who have been cruelly taken from us.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 7 June 2021

We are carefully considering the most appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government has no plans to create a bank holiday on 23rd March.

We are very sorry to hear of the death of your father. We offer our deepest condolences to you and your family, and to all those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.

While the Government's immediate focus is on protecting the lives and livelihoods of the nation, there is also the need to mourn those who have died during the pandemic, and to mark and remember this period as one of immense struggle.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 May that the Government will establish a UK Commission on Covid Commemoration to consider the appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives and to recognise those involved in the unprecedented response. The Government will set out the Commission’s membership and terms of reference in due course.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to mark a variety of occasions. A bank holiday is usually a day of celebration. While we sympathise with the sentiments behind this petition, we are therefore not considering a bank holiday for those who have lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Full-time workers in the UK are entitled to 28 days statutory paid holiday each year. NHS staff and other key workers – who have played an essential role during the unprecedented response to the Covid-19 pandemic - are likely to have to work on bank holidays due to their contractual arrangements. Legislation does not give employees a right to time off or extra pay on bank holidays.

Additional bank holidays can also have implications across the public sector which need to be taken into consideration. Health and social care services would be disrupted and any scheduled treatments and operations – of which there is a backlog due to Covid-19 – would need to be rescheduled. Courts and tribunals would have to postpone any planned hearings. Due to the way in which listings are managed, these may have to be pushed back by more than a single day, leading to longer delays.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which acknowledged the petition creator and responded in an appropriately sympathetic way. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/568631

Other parliamentary business

Original Government response

The Government has no plans to create a bank holiday on 23rd March. We are carefully considering the most appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the Government’s immediate focus is on protecting the lives and livelihoods of the nation, it is also very important to mourn those who have died during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Government is carefully considering the most appropriate way to remember those who have lost their lives, and to recognise those involved in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to mark a variety of occasions. A bank holiday is usually a day of celebration. We therefore do not believe that a bank holiday is appropriate to mark this occasion.

There are eight permanent bank and public holidays in England and Wales. There are nine in Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland.

Full-time workers in the UK are entitled to 28 days statutory paid holiday each year. NHS staff and other key workers – who have played an essential role during the unprecedented response to the Covid-19 pandemic - are likely to have to work on bank holidays due to their contractual arrangements. Legislation does not give employees a right to time off or extra pay on bank holidays.

Additional bank holidays can also have implications across the public sector which need to be taken into consideration. Health and social care services would be disrupted and any scheduled treatments and operations – of which there is already a backlog due to Covid-19 – would need to be rescheduled. Courts and tribunals would have to postpone any planned hearings. Due to the way in which listings are managed, these may have to be pushed back by more than a single day, leading to longer delays.

While an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy is considerable. The most recent estimate – from the impact assessment for the additional holiday for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 - is that a bank holiday (across the UK) costs the economy around £1.2bn.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

This response was given on 19 April 2021. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that acknowledged the petition creator and responded in an appropriately sympathetic way.