Close Menu

People most at risk from contracting Covid in supermarkets, not pubs

While pubs have been subject to the toughest restrictions on trading during the pandemic, it’s supermarkets where people appear mostly likely to contract Covid-19 in the UK.

More than 18% of those who had contracted coronavirus in the UK had recently been to a supermarket

According to data released by Public Health England (PHE) last week, based on information from the NHS Test and Trace app, supermarkets, not pubs, are the most common places visited in the days before a positive coronavirus test.

As first reported by Sky News, the new findings show that supermarkets are the “primary setting” where those who have contracted the virus have recently been, followed by secondary schools, then primary schools, hospitals, and care homes.

Indeed, pubs come in at ninth place in a list of places visited ahead of the positive test – see below.

While the data does not actually prove where people had picked up the virus, by looking at the contacts, and retracing the movements of the 128,808 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 between 9 to 15 November, PHE has been able to show the most common locations visited by those with the virus.

From this, more than 18% of those who had contracted coronavirus had been to a supermarket in the days ahead of the positive test result, while fewer than 2% had been to a pub or a bar.

Such figures lend further weight to a widespread belief among the pub, bar and restaurant sector in the UK that hospitality is being disproportionately punished when it comes to measures being used to attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

As reported by the drinks business yesterday in our reveal of the post-lockdown plans for the UK hospitality sector, James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), called the new hospitality restrictions “unjustified and unsubstantiated” in light of plans in other sectors.

In total, 9,789 common places were reported, with the PHE results below showing the most frequent:

  • Supermarket – 18.3%
  • Secondary school – 12.7%
  • Primary school – 10.1%
  • Hospital – 3.6%
  • Care home – 2.8%
  • College – 2.4%
  • Warehouse – 2.2%
  • Nursery preschool – 1.8%
  • Pub or bar – 1.6%
  • Hospitality – 1.5%
  • University – 1.4%
  • Manufacture engineering – 1.4%
  • Household fewer than five – 1.2%
  • General practice – 1.1%
  • Gym – 1.1%
  • Restaurant or cafe – 1.0%

Read more


It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No