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COVID-19 infection among bartenders and waiters before and after pub lockdown
  1. Fredrik Methi1,
  2. Kjetil Telle1,
  3. Karin Magnusson1,2
  1. 1 Cluster for Health Services Research, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2 Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Orthopaedics, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Fredrik Methi, Division for Health Services, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, 0213 Oslo, Norway; fredrik.methi{at}


Objective To assess how different bans on serving alcohol in Norwegian bars and restaurants were related to the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in bartenders and waiters and in persons in any occupation.

Methods In 25 392 bartenders and waiters and 1 496 328 persons with other occupations (mean (SD) age 42.0 (12.9) years and 51.8% men), we examined the weekly rates of workers tested and detected with SARS-CoV-2, 1–10 weeks before and 1–5 weeks after implementation of different degrees of bans on serving alcohol in pubs and restaurants, across 102 Norwegian municipalities with: (1) full blanket ban, (2) partial ban with hourly restrictions (eg, from 22:00 hours) or (3) no ban, adjusted for age, sex, testing behaviour and population size.

Results By 4 weeks after the implementation of ban, COVID-19 infection among bartenders and waiters had been reduced by 60% (from 2.8 (95% CI 2.0 to 3.6) to 1.1 (95% CI 0.5 to 1.6) per 1000) in municipalities introducing full ban, and by almost 50% (from 2.5 (95% CI 1.5 to 3.5) to 1.3 (95% CI 0.4 to 2.2) per 1000) in municipalities introducing partial ban. A similar reduction within 4 weeks was also observed for workers in all occupations, both in municipalities with full (from 1.3 (95% CI 1.3 to 1.4) to 0.9 (95% CI 0.9 to 1.0)) and partial bans (from 1.2 (95% CI 1.1 to 1.3) to 0.5 (95% CI 0.5 to 0.6)).

Conclusion Partial bans on serving alcohol in bars and restaurants may be similarly associated with declines in confirmed COVID-19 infection as full bans.

  • COVID-19
  • alcohol
  • occupational health
  • statistics
  • alcohol drinking

Data availability statement

No data are available.

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  • Contributors FM had access to all of the data in the study and takes full responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. FM and KT performed the statistical analyses and KM drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed with acquisition of data, conceptual design, analyses and interpretation of results. All authors contributed to writing the article or critically revising it for important intellectual content. All authors gave final approval for the version to be submitted.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Disclaimer The funding sources had no influence on the design or conduct of the study, the collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data, the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript, or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.