Deputy chief health officer Dr Nick Coatsworth has called on Aussies to ditch the pub crawl mentality and restrict themselves to one venue when they go out at night during the COVID-19 crisis.
“To be honest, in this day and age, the idea of attending multiple venues on one night, people need to reflect on whether that is the right thing to do,” Dr Coatsworth (below) said.
“We were all 20 once, and there will be people who remain in their 20s after the pandemic when this is all over who can go back to the old eight-pub pub crawl.
“But for the moment, I think we need to kind of pull back a little bit on our socialising.
“I think just remember that when you visit many places in a night, that could well be, you may be the person spreading the virus or you could put yourself at risk of spreading.”
It comes after several young people visited multiple venues while infectious with COVID-19.
Two men in their 20s with COVID-19 caused a string of pubs to be closed for deep cleaning after they had big weekends in Newcastle and Sydney in early August.
The Newcastle man visited five venues: Bennett Hotel in Hamilton from 5.30pm to 10pm on Friday, July 31, and the Greenroof Bar and Restaurant in Hamilton from 10pm to midnight on the same night; Queens Wharf Hotel on Saturday, August 1 from 9.30pm to 11pm and the Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton from midnight on Saturday to 1.30am; and Hopsmith Sports Bar in Wests New Lambton from 5pm to 7.30pm on Sunday, August 2.
In Sydney, an infectious man visited The Eveleigh Hotel in Redfern on July 31 from 8:30pm to 10:00pm; Warren View Hotel in Enmore on August 1 from 4:00pm to 4:20pm; Mary’s in Macquarie Place, Sydney on August 1 from 6:45pm to 7:15pm; Cubby’s Kitchen in Sydney on August 1 from 7:35pm to 9:30pm; and Burrow Bar in Sydney on August 1 from 9:35pm to 11:15pm.
NSW may move to tougher restrictions
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hinted the state government could institute new restrictions if warnings to cut down on socialising were not heeded.
“We are still in a state of very high alert, we are doing OK, we’re holding the line, but we are at least half-way through a very critical phase,” she said.
“We ask people to curtail their activity, it’s very difficult (to contact trace) when people have attended a number of venues in one night. We don’t want to have to impose further restrictions on people’s ability to be free but we want people to be responsible, listen to the advice and please consider your own actions and what you’re doing given the high state of alert.”
End of the pub crawl in UK?
Pub crawls could be banned in the Scotland to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government was researching how to tighten up rules for hospitality businesses after Aberdeen was put back into lockdown following a cluster potentially caused by a pub crawl.
“It’s stupid behaviour,” said Peter Gibson, Sunderland City Council member. “This is a killer disease – 46,000 people have died – and here is someone going round risking spreading it in our pubs when the advice is crystal clear: if you’re showing symptoms, stay at home and isolate. He has put lives at risk. Imagine if someone he has had contact with catches this and suffers very badly.”
It’s also a major issue in the US. For example, it’s been reported that hundreds of people were being contacted by the Clinton County Health Department in Illinois after several large pub crawls where people were not wearing masks or social distancing.
The largest group had a bus and took 30 people all around to different bars. No masks were seen and social distancing was not followed.
The other groups who were bar hopping or pub-crawling were smaller in numbers, and not all used buses to get around.