Politics

Covid Temperance Assault on Pubs is Based on Little Evidence



Covid Temperance Assault on Pubs is Based on Little Evidence

Pubs are a source of confusion, Labour’s leader in London Sadiq Khan wants them to have a more flexible, later closing time to avoid the herds of drinkers exiting simultaneously, whereas his opposite number, Mark Drakeford the Labour leader in Wales is bringing closing time forward to 6pm. The Institute of Economic Affairs has published an update to its critical analysis of the reasoning behind the increasingly puritanical Covid measures, which seek to limit the functioning of pubs in general and alcohol in particular. It turns out that the research behind this hugely damaging course of anti-pub action is based upon is flimsy at best. The Government has based its pub assumptions on evidence of increased risk of “close, prolonged, indoors, face-to-face, in poorly ventilated and/or crowded spaces, or involve ‘loud’ activities”. It then claims that these risk factors are “all prevalent in the hospitality sector”. Yet, as the IEA’s Chris Snowdon points out, pubs have not been like this since before the pandemic…

It appears that the Government has predicated its assault on pubs and bars based upon what they were like before any social distancing measures were put in place. The papers it cites analyse the spread of the virus in bars and pubs in the early days of the pandemic – with no mandatory ‘covid secure’ measures and little or no social distancing. Yet the evidence from Test and Trace today is that where open, fewer than 5% of infections are coming from Covid-secure bars and pubs. As Guido revealed in October, one local authority listed just 2.4% of transmission came from hospitality venues. If the Government wants to justify its assault on hospitality it will have to find more evidence than the fact that pubs spread the virus before any Covid measures were out in place…

Read the IEA’s paper in full here…


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