"There is absolutely no evidence many Covid infections occur in restaurants and pubs"

8 October 2020, 07:58

By Fiona Jones

Founder of Punch Pubs Hugh Osmond told Nick Ferrari "there is absolutely no evidence" many Covid infections occur in restaurants and pubs after Scotland announced an alcohol ban from Friday.

From Friday Scotland is set to face 16 days of restrictions with pubs and restaurants and bars banned from selling alcohol indoors, it has been announced.

Speaking from Holyrood, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that indoor hospitality venues will only be allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm daily, selling food and non-alcoholic drinks only.

Outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to remain open up until 10pm and will be allowed to sell alcohol up to that time.

Founder of Punch Pubs and co-founder of Pizza Express, Hugh Osmond questioned the measures: "In the Government's own report from Public Health England...there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that most of the infections, or even many of the infections, are happening in restaurants."

He told Nick that from the figures published over the last few weeks, "the vast majority are in places like care homes and three to five percent have been in restaurants, that's one in 30 to one in 20 in restaurants."

Mr Osmond pointed out that the vulnerable are in care homes and in hospitals and "that's where the deaths are occurring."

He continued that even in other countries where contact tracing is efficient, "in those countries exactly the same comes up, the transmission is not happening in places like restaurants."

"They have no actual evidence, they are going on things like peoples' recollection...what did you do in the last week? Oh I went to a restaurant," he said, "that is not science."

Mr Osmond corroborated Sir Keir Starmer's point during Prime Minister's Questions that there has been a 15 fold increase of coronavirus infection despite the weeks of measures.

"These measures are not what stops this virus, it is nothing to do with hospitality. We are the scapegoats and not the cause," Mr Osmond, instead young peoples' jobs are being affected.