Despite hospitality having consistently faced the toughest operating restrictions, Greg Fell, director of Public Health in Sheffield, and Dr Richard Harling, his counterpart in Staffordshire, said the bulk of transmission has always been in people’s homes.
Giving evidence before the Science and Technology Committee to discuss the NHS Test and Trace system, Harding said: “Back in the summer and autumn, once you put transmission between household members aside, the next most important one was transmission between different households.
“Hospitality did feature but much lower down the list. At the moment, with hospitality closed, our main one now is other businesses, other workplaces.”
Asked about the risk of transmission in hospitality venues, Fell told MPs: “Most of the transmission events are households, within households, or household to household transmission.
“Hospitality doesn’t crop up as a terribly big risk on our risk radar.
“Certainly when we look at the common exposure dataset, hospitality certainly isn’t a huge risk.
“There will have been transmission in hospitality, but it’s certainly nowhere near the top of my risk radar.”
Meanwhile, Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief science officer, told the committee there was no hard evidence on the 10p curfew reducing transmission.
He said: “What you can see across Europe and indeed in this country is that keeping people together longer in an indoor environment, where there’s also alcohol, is likely to increase risk.
“And therefore that was a policy decision around trying to reduce the potential of interactions.
“It’s not something you can model with any degree of accuracy and say a particular time will give you a particular result.”
Sir Patrick said he saw strong indications that hospitality settings did drive transmission, but admitted “we can’t give specific data on that and neither can anyone else around the world”.