To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations since August have been influenced by (1) the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, (2) the return of schools, colleges and universities in September, and (3) the deteriorating weather conditions and reduced hours of daylight; and what research, if any, they have commissioned into the influence of each of these elements.
While we have not made a specific assessment of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, we would not hesitate to act in response to an increase in infections. We worked closely with businesses to ensure they were COVID-19 secure.
Currently, the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector is being explored by the Government through various studies with the Office for National Statistics, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Public Health England.
We have not made an assessment of the specific influence of weather on the transmission of COVID-19. However, as people to spend more time indoors during the winter which increases the time spent in close proximity to others, the risks of has led to an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations.