Hospitality industry bosses seem unanimous in their view that this is not the case and in the UK, anecdotally, they’ve reported very low numbers of either customer or staff infections.
UKHospitality, which represents the broad hospitality sector covering everything from bars, coffee shops, contract catering, hotels and nightclubs to visitor attractions and other leisure venues, issued a questionnaire to its members recently to gauge the actual number of cases across the country.
The survey covered 568 businesses across 12,522 venues employing 358,000 people in the UK.
Over the 14 weeks that UK hospitality businesses had been open since the 14th of July this sample reported 1,728 infections within their workforce, an infection rate of 0.48% among employees over the entire period. This number of infections emerged after approximately 20 million work shifts.
The sample reported that they’d been notified that 780 customers had been infected with the virus. This is 0.06 customer infections per venue.
“Over this period we believe there have been 250 million customer visits in the premises surveyed” commented UKHospitality, “the notification rate is therefore 0.0003% of all customer visits.”
Test & Trace
Across this same cohort the survey asked how many contacts had been received from the Test & Trace system (and its equivalent in devolved nations). The response rate was just 104 contacts, a tiny fraction of the 250 million customer visits.
“It is fully appreciated that not all staff or customer infections will be revealed to the hospitality venues and so these results will represent an underestimate of the true data,” stated UKHospitality, “Equally, we have been informed that Test & Trace and its equivalents will only contact a venue if there are two or more infections related to that venue and so this number will not reflect infections identified (though the fact there are relatively low numbers of ‘clusters’ suggests cases are relatively low).
“While there are different data available on infection rates the data that we have collected paints a picture of what we have seen and has been identified to the hospitality sector. This is that there is an extremely low level of transmission in the hospitality sector, confirming the view that measures specifically targeting the hospitality sector are unjustified and should be reconsidered,” concluded UKHospitality which was formed from the merger of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Hospitality Association in April 2018.
And collectively, three pub and hospitality trade bodies, UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping and the British Beer & Pub Association, have urged the government to remove its 10pm curfew as the three associations revealed that just 1% of hospitality venues across the UK have been linked to NHS Test and Trace incidences during the month of October.
A survey of members from all three trade associations conducted by hospitality market research company CGA showed that respondents operating over 22,500 outlets across the UK reported 275 NHS Test and Trace contact incidences – the equivalent to 1% of all outlets surveyed.
Latest published Public Health England data also shows that hospitality was linked to just 2.7% of Covid-19 cases.
The trade bodies say the findings reiterate that pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues are Covid-secure.
They’re now calling on the Government to consider removing the 10pm curfew on the sector which the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has questioned as an effective way to combat the virus and which is massively damaging the hospitality trade in medium risk regions across the UK.
“Just 1% of the 22,500 pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues we surveyed said they were linked by NHS Test and Trace to an incidence,” said a spokesperson for the three UK trade bodies, “Public Health England’s own data shows hospitality was most recently linked to just 2.7% of Covid-19 incidences.
“The evidence is clear that pubs, restaurants and hospitality venues are Covid-secure. Singling them out is simply illogical, counterproductive and grossly unfair.
“The Government must consider removing the curfew.”