Giroir: ‘Evidence Clearly Does Not Support’ Limiting Outdoor Dining – Overly Harsh Restrictions ‘Could Be Causing a Lot More Harm’

On Monday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom,” HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir said that “the evidence clearly does not support limitations on things like outdoor dining, particularly that are spaced, outdoor bars.” And that “we could be causing a lot more harm by overly restrictive recommendations that are not supported by the science.”

Giroir said, [relevant remarks begin around 6:10] “I don’t know of any data that says you need to shut down outdoor dining or outdoor bars. We really wanted to limit the indoor crowded places. So, I think we need to do what’s necessary to turn the pandemic, but not more, that’s not evidence-based, that’s going to be counterproductive.”

Host Sandra Smith then asked, “They keep saying it’s the science. That’s why they’re shutting down all of California. Why are they doing it?”

Giroir responded, “The science does not say that, and all of us on the task force, Dr. Fauci, Birx, Redfield, Hahn, we all — Dr. Adams, the Surgeon General, is that we do, if you’re in a surge place, need to limit indoor dining and indoor bars. You don’t have to close schools. You don’t have to close universities. You don’t have to close your major industries. You do need to wear a mask. That’s critically important when you’re in public and can’t physically distance, very, very important. And we see that these measures, they can be counterproductive. People get mad and upset because the science [doesn’t] support them. The science does support limiting indoor dining and bars.”

He continued, “But even now, there are many restaurants that have taken tremendous — they’ve split the tables by seven feet, there’s plexiglass. I’d like to see a little more individual attention to these places that have invested a lot of money, and are probably safer than people having a house party with 100 people there. So, you know, it’s time to nuance. This is not March or April. This is December. We know what the science says. We know that there are countermeasures that are effective. … I think we could be causing a lot more harm by overly restrictive recommendations that are not supported by the science.”

Giroir added that “the evidence clearly does not support limitations on things like outdoor dining, particularly that are spaced, outdoor bars. You know, the evidence just isn’t there. And remember, shutting down completely, particularly if you don’t have evidence, can be counterproductive. We just saw this week, data that said that drug overdose, cardiac arrest doubled during the shutdowns in April through June, doubled, 100% increase. We know that children don’t receive care, that heart attacks go unattended. So, shutdowns do have consequences. Do what’s necessary and evidence-based. We try to be very specific about that. But when you do more, it frustrates the population. Because it’s not evidence-based, particularly when politicians violate their own rules. We have to be reasonable. We have to be fair. We have to be science-based.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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