"A bullet in the head for hospitality" - sector set to bear the brunt of tougher tier restrictions

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants pubs hospitality face tougher Coronavirus tier restrictions

Related tags Coronavirus Restaurant lockdown Pub

Plans for a tougher tier system in England that will see restaurants and pubs in Tier 3 areas restricted to takeaway only have been described as 'a bullet in the head' for hospitality.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will outline the measures to Parliament this afternoon (23 November), with the expectation that they will come into force after the national lockdown ends on December 2 and the country returns to the three-tier Coronavirus alert system.

According to The Telegraph​, pubs and restaurants will bear the brunt of the new restrictions so shops, cinemas and gyms can reopen.

It is understood that hospitality businesses in Tier 3 areas will now only be allowed to offer takeaways under the rules - which is all they are allowed to do in the current lockdown - while those in Tier 2 will only be able to serve alcohol with 'substantial meals'. 

Previously, restaurants in Tier 3 were able to continue operating an indoor service, as were pubs and bars providing they served a 'substantial meal'; in Tier 2 businesses were able to continue operating as normal, subject to national restrictions, but trade was severely impacted by restrictions on households being able to mix in indoor settings.

In what could be best described as a pyrrhic victory for the sector, it is also reported that the Prime Minister is set to relax the 10pm curfew, which  has been a source of great frustration for the industry since it was introduced back in September. 

The revised rule will mean hospitality venues will be able to take orders up until 10pm and then be ordered to close by 11pm.

On Twitter, chefs, restaurateurs and industry voices have reacted with anger and frustration at reports of the new tier restrictions.

"If the papers are correct it’s a bullet in the head for hospitality," said Simon Hulstone, chef owner of Michelin-starred Torquay restaurant The Elephant.

Meanwhile, Loungers chairman and co-founder Alex Reilley said: "So Tier 3 is lockdown and Tier 2 is basically old Tier 3 - but all of this is ONLY for hospitality. This is going to kill a lot of hospitality businesses off and it’s clear the Government are now prepared to cut the hospitality sector adrift. Merry f*cking Christmas!"

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, has called the proposals 'absolutely devastating'.

She said: "Pubs and restaurants pay the price of tougher tier restrictions - no other sector facing restrictions. Totally unacceptable."

Johnson will outline the new measures in an address to the Commons at 3:30pm this afternoon, followed by a televised address to the nation this evening.

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