Report: Ministers told perspex screens 'did more harm than good' in preventing the spread of Covid-19

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Ministers are being briefed that perspex screens may have done more harm than good in limiting the spread of the coronavirus, according to Night time economy adviser Sacha Lord.

Though an official statement has yet to be made, the claim is that screens may have increased the risk of Covid-19 infection by limiting airflow. 

If this reveals itself to be true, it will likely stir up strong feelings in the hospitality industry, where businesses spent thousands in the summer of last year to welcome guests in a safe environment.


Sacha Lord has twice challenged the government's restrictions imposed on hospitality businesses as a result of the pandemic.

In the first instance, the 'substantial meal' rule was successfully overturned. It banned drinking in pubs unless food was ordered too, and controversially classified Scotch eggs as a substantial meal for the purposes of tier regulations.

Then, his and restaurateur Hugh Osmond's call for a judicial review of the government's decision not to reopen indoor hospitality settings until May 17th was dismissed by the high court despite advice from the scientific community that eating out in food outlets and restaurants "was not associated with increased odds" of transmitting Covid-19 as compared to retail settings.

At the time, he said: "Operators have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds creating indoor Covid secure environments, as advised by ministers themselves, and we firmly believe these regulated, ventilated venues have much safer measures and greater social distancing in place than retail stores.

"This is not a hospitality versus retail argument, but government decisions must operate on a level playing field and be supported by evidence. We currently see no clear justification for the delay."

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 16th June 2021

Report: Ministers told perspex screens 'did more harm than good' in preventing the spread of Covid-19