A top scientist has said he would feel "comfortable" having a pint inside a well-ventilated pub because such venues are highly unlikely to extensively spread Covid-19.
Imperial College London's Professor Peter Openshaw, who specialises in viral infections, said ideal breeding grounds for the coronavirus are places that are loud where people have to "shout to overcome the noise".
But a "well-managed" average boozer, which abides by social distancing and remains reasonably quiet, is not particularly risky and largely safe to go into, the professor claims.
He was speaking on BBC's Question Time, less than 48 hours after England's national lockdown was lifted, but with heavy restrictions hampering the pub trade.
Most areas have entered a tougher version of Tier 2, allowing different households to meet outside pubs for drinks as long as they order a "substantial meal" - but not go indoors.
Also appearing on the show, celebrity chef, pub owner and restaurateur, Tom Kerridge, said the hospitality trade was not responsible for the surge in cases during England's second wave.
He said even during the Eat Out to Help Out campaign in the summer hospitality transmission rates never rose above 3-5 percent, adding such draconian measures are killing the industry - particularly non-food serving venues - for no good reason.
Mr Kerridge, who has appeared on MasterChef, Saturday Kitchen and Great British Menu, went on to ridicule the loophole which means people in non-wet pubs can order a Scotch egg as their "substantial meal" with their pint.
Asked if there is any science to back up the restrictions in pubs, Prof Openshaw, appearing via video link, said: "I think it's fair and very clear that there are things that transmit the virus really well.
"And that's often in venues where there's poor ventilation, loud music, people having to shout to overcome the noise and then you're omitting a lot of spittle particles, which contain a lot of the virus.
"So that's perfect transmission environment.
"If you have a quiet environment with well-ventilated areas where you can have social separation, then there's lots of well-managed places where you can go and have a meal and so on, and drink a pint at the same time where the transmission risk is very very low.
"But I think it has been clear that loud music and shouting in a close environment is perfect for transmission of the virus."
Host Fiona Bruce said: "So, if it was a pub that wasn't playing music, would you be happy for people to go there?"
Prof Openshaw said: "I personally would feel quite comfortable to go into a pub where it was quiet, well-ventilated and where you could actually keep your distance from people."