Legislative loophole allows for takeaway beer sales

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Legislative loophole allows for takeaway beer sales pubs England Coronavirus lockdown

Related tags lockdown Coronavirus Beer Pub Legislation

The Government has partially U-turned on its decision to ban pubs in England selling takeaway alcoholic drinks during the forthcoming November lockdown, legislation published yesterday (3 November) shows.

According to the new lockdown regulations, the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises is allowed providing it has been ordered in advance by phone, online, or by post.

The customer can collect their pre-ordered drinks in person, providing they do not enter inside the premises to do so.

Commenting on the publication of lockdown regulations, the Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA) national chairman Nik Antona said: “I am delighted that the Government has listened to the concerns of thousands of CAMRA members, concerned pub-goers, and beer lovers who have e-mailed their MPs in the last 48 hours urging the Government to allow pubs and breweries to sell alcohol as takeaway during the second lockdown.

“This is a vital lifeline for local pubs and breweries across England over the coming four weeks, giving them a lifeline of income and allowing people to support local businesses.

“CAMRA continues to call on the Government to bring in a comprehensive, long-term financial support package to support all pubs and breweries through the lockdown and the tough months that will follow this winter. Without a sector-specific support package, we risk seeing thousands of pubs and breweries closing their doors for good.”

The regulations also clarify that brewery shops can operate as off-licences and can sell bottled and canned beer for takeaway without pre-ordering.

News of the ban came to light​ at the weekend following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement that hospitality venues across England must close for a month from tomorrow​ (5 October).

Initially the guidance stated that while pubs, restaurants and bars would be able to operate takeaway food and delivery services during the lockdown period, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed - a marked contrast to the first lockdown that took place in the spring, where takeaway pints were allowed; a move that was credited with helping many hard-hit pubs stay afloat during the shutdown.

UKHospitality welcomed the decision to allow restaurants and pubs to sell pre-ordered takeaway alcohol, saying it will ensure a vital lifeline for businesses is not strangled, and will enable venues to retain a valuable link with their communities.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is a welcome and helpful clarification that restaurants and pubs will be permitted to continue with off-licence sales of alcohol through delivery, click and collect and takeaway for pre-ordered sales. Having that channel of revenue was a lifeline to many businesses in the first lockdown.

“This also means that the valuable community service that pubs, in particular, provide to communities, can be sustained during a second lockdown, the prospect of which will be concerning many vulnerable and lonely people who suffered during the first lockdown. The delivery and collection provisions also represent a common sense approach to minimising waste. That those venues can also open as a shop, including as an off licence, is also welcome.

“It is a relief to have sight of this guidance – yet again, venues have precious little time in which to digest and implement them. A vital element to the successful application of the guidance, at short notice, will be clear local authority guidance on their enforcement, so that venues have confidence that there will be consistency across England.”

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