THE new normal of ordering a pint, what to do ahead of a second spike and the rationale for the rich to pay higher taxes were the topics discussed by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.

The Daily Mail

Tom Utley is doing his best to support his local pub sector and so, at 4.15pm on Wednesday, presented himself at his local and asked for a pint of Wandle bitter, brewed just two miles away.

“It turned out to be a somewhat more complicated transaction than I’d become used to, in those far-off days before the pandemic turned our lives upside-down,” he said. “I went up to the bar where I asked Maddie for my pint.’Sorry,’ she said through her mask, ‘it’s table service only now.’”

He dutifully sat down and repeated his request only to be told he had to download an app first.

“My heart sank. Electronic technology just doesn’t seem to like me — and the feeling is entirely mutual,” he said. “Sure enough, my efforts to locate and download the app came to nothing.”

With a little help from Maddie - success, he said.

“I tapped on a pint of Wandle (£4.86) and set about entering my details — name, telephone number, email, create password, credit card number, security code, table number… At long last, 20 minutes after I’d walked into that empty pub, the message came up: ‘Order accepted!’

“Maddie went straight back to the bar, pulled my pint and brought it over to my table. Oh, the absurdity of bureaucracy!

“Ah, well, I suppose we must get used to what we’re all sick of hearing is to be the ‘new normal’.”

The Guardian

Emma Brockes, a New York based columnist, said the city had recorded no coronavirus deaths this week for the first time since the outbreak occurred.

“To be in a former hotspot where the virus is, for now, under control, is to occupy a strange twilight world,” she said. “Looking at the rest of the US, the assumption in New York is that things will definitely get worse. Now – for a hot second – is the time to break cover.”

She described New York as ‘neurotic’ and said the reflux towards phase three was ‘a rush towards healthcare practitioners’.

“After months of missed screenings, wellness checks, and that peculiarly American obsession, orthodontics, the imperative in the last 10 days among certain stripes of New Yorker has been to jam in as many visits to doctors as can be realistically managed,” she added. “ For some, to be relieved of the ability to make plans for the future has been an experiment in living that has, to date, had occasional upsides: less pressure to do anything, including shower and get dressed; a break from frog-marching the kids to their endless extracurricular activities.”

She asked what was best to this summer - to have a ‘last hurrah’ before a second spike and go away on vacation? Or is it ‘wanton, now, to spend any money at all, given the certainty that more bad times are coming?’

“Perhaps I’m being too apocalyptic,” she said. “Perhaps we’ll have a new president in November, there will be a vaccine in January, and much of this will be moot. But it doesn’t feel that way now, and I keep thinking of the biblical line popularised by Jeanette Winterson: “The summer is ended and we are not yet saved”. In which case, for those still able to, perhaps it is prudent to invest in small joys while we can.”

The Daily Express

Former trader Gary Stevenson said 83 millionaires - himself included - signed an open letter calling on the government to raise taxes for the rich.

In 2011, after the 2008 financial crash, he realised the economists were wrong about their predictions for recovery.

“The sharp contrast between the lives of the wealthy investment bankers around me, and my friends and family back in Ilford, had made me realise that the new money was flowing not to ordinary working people, but to the rich,” he said. “These mistakes are being made again. Coronavirus is increasing inequality hugely. Again the Bank of England has printed huge quantities of money. But this money is not ending up with ordinary workers.”

He said around a million workers are set to lose their jobs in the next few weeks. Many will struggle to find a job and will exist on Universal Credit.

“A greater tax on these very wealthy citizens will be the only way to provide support to struggling people in a time of desperate need,” he argued.