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Pubs Urge Government to Cut Social Distancing Recommendation to One Metre

The British Beer and Pub Association looks to World Health Organisation parameters, but crowding is its own problem

A grass beer garden with picnic tables at a London pub
Beer gardens will be instrumental in the reopening of U.K. pubs
Fuller’s [Official Photo]

Will beer gardens be crowded this summer?

A British pub association is pressuring the government to relax social distancing regulations for pubs on the grounds that it will more than double the number able to reopen on the government’s proposed 4 July. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) claims that changing social distancing rules to one metre — a figure cited by the World Health Organisation (WHO) — from two metres would increase the number of pubs that could reopen in July by 120 percent, according to Propel.

Any such change would go against initial advice for places that are “crowded by design,” which includes pubs and suggests that such places would be closed through July. It would also seemingly require contravening one aspect of epidemiological science. Viral load, a measure of how many virus particles are in a given person’s system or space, could necessarily be higher in a busy environment at one metre distance than at two. It seems unlikely that pubs would get one rule for them and one for other businesses, even if the government’s current track record on this maxim says otherwise, so the body is effectively asking for a wholesale change in public health strategy. [Propel]

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