The data, which draws on the analysis of the track and trace data of 128,808 people who’d reported they tested positive for the virus between 9 November and 15 November, shows that visits to pubs and bars are just 1.6% of all common transmission locations reported.
This rate of transmission is far below the likes of supermarkets, schools and care homes – all of which have been allowed to remain open during the second England lockdown.
Supermarkets are the primary setting for disease transmission (18.3%), according to PHE, followed by secondary schools (12.7%), primary schools (10.1%), hospitals (3.6%) and care homes (2.8%).
The PHE’s response to these figures is that the findings did not mean that supermarkets were to blame for causing the spread of Coronavirus, with Isobel Oliver, director of the national infection service for PHE describing any suggestions that supermarkets were places of contracting Coronavirus as ‘inaccurate’.
“Common exposure data does not prove where people are contracting covid-19,” she says.
“It simply shows where people who have tested positive have been in the days leading up to their test and it is used to help identify possible outbreaks.”
This position that has been met with frustration from people in the hospitality sector who have questioned why this logic has not been applied to the hospitality sector, which remains in lockdown.
“Where was this clarity when similar (but lower) figures were bandied about for restaurants?,” Will Beckett, CEO of Hawksmoor, tweeted in response.
“She’s absolutely right about this with supermarkets but the same point applied then too - ‘correlation is not causation’.”
Loungers chairman Alex Reilley tweeted: “Where was a similar statement when hospitality was being wrongly blamed? I guess silence was necessary to fit with the lockdown agenda.
“People with power whose livelihoods are unaffected by C19 seem to be enjoying playing god. Where will the vilification of hospitality stop?”