Pubs and COVID-19: Flawed claims and faulty reasoning
Updated 29th November 2020.



  • Most COVID-19 infections appear to take place in private households. Less than five per cent of infected individuals contacted by NHS Test and Trace say that they have had close contact with another person in a hospitality venue.

  • Enforced pub closures in Bolton and Leicester have not been associated with a decline in transmission of COVID-19, nor has the 10pm ‘curfew’ led to a decline in new infections nationwide.

  • It is likely that a shutdown of the pub sector will lead to a further increase in unregulated private gatherings where transmission of the virus is easier. The strengthening and effective enforcement of proven preventive measures should be used to help stem the spread of COVID-19, not new lockdowns and restrictions.

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Head of Lifestyle Economics, IEA

Christopher Snowdon is the Head of Lifestyle Economics at the IEA. He is the author of The Art of Suppression, The Spirit Level Delusion and Velvet Glove; Iron Fist. His work focuses on pleasure, prohibition and dodgy statistics. He has authored a number of papers, including "Sock Puppets", "Euro Puppets", "The Proof of the Pudding", "The Crack Cocaine of Gambling" and "Free Market Solutions in Health".