Jack Lambert: 105 minute time limit in pubs 'not based on science'


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.38 25 May 2021


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An infectious disease expert says plans for a time limit when pubs and restaurants re-open are not based on science.

Fáilte Ireland was expected to release new guidelines on Tuesday, which would include details of a 105 minute indoor dining time limit.

However these will now not be published until Wednesday.

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Dr Jack Lambert is a consultant in infectious diseases at The Mater Hospital.

He told The Hard Shoulder now is the right time for the country to re-open.

"This is the right time to open up because if you look at what's happened over previous years, COVID seems to settle down over the summer.

"So this is the right time to open up - the question is what's the safe way to open up?

"We know that COVID spreads indoors in enclosed spaces, places that aren't well ventilated.

"So I think the message is not just 'Open up indoor dining' - it's not that simple.

"There's been studies done now that, if there's somebody in that room that has COVID, it doesn't matter if you're six feet or sixty feet.

"This has been said by the experts - that if somebody coughs in that room, and everybody else doesn't have a mask on, then the virus could potentially spread throughout the whole room.

"So I think it's just not as simple as one metre, two metre - it's actually doing the right things.

"Having the place well ventilated, wearing a mask when you're not eating, washing your hands - doing all the right COVID mitigation things.

"Otherwise we run the risk of flaring up again in environments like that.

"But I think it's a good idea to move forward with opening up our economy, opening up restaurants, pubs, those kind of things - but we have to do it safely."

On the potential of a 105 minute time limit for customers, he said this is not based on anything scientific.

"These kind of arbitrary numbers are not based on science, they're arbitrary.

"So the less time you spend with somebody obviously - if you're in a room with somebody for 10 minutes, you're less likely to be infected than if you're in for an hour.

"But to come up with just some magic number arbitrarily doesn't make good sense".

Jack Lambert: 105 minute time limit in pubs 'not based on science'

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Main image: A person cleaning tables at a restaurant in 2006. Picture by: Ron Nickel/Zuma Press/PA Images

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