Takeaway pints banned as England heads back into lockdown

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Takeaway pints for pubs and restaurants banned as England heads back into lockdown

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Hospitality venues across England will once again be banned from selling takeaway alcoholic drinks under new national lockdown measures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the measures in an address to the nation last night (4 January), warning that the weeks ahead 'will be the hardest yet' as he once again told people they must stay at home.

The lockdown, which will last for at least seven weeks and be reviewed during the February half term, will once again see pubs, restaurants and cafes banned from selling takeaway pints.

Hospitality venues will be able to provide food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway, click-and-collect and drive-thru, subject to a 11pm curfew.

All food and drink, including alcohol, can continue to be provided by delivery.

Any non-essential shops still open in Tier 3 areas have been told to shut immediately, with primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across the country also ordered to close.

The Government previously imposed a ban on pubs and restaurants selling takeaway pints during England's second national lockdown in November, although later amended the legislation to allow sales of alcohol for takeaway providing orders were placed in advance either over the phone or online.

It represents a marked contrast to the rules in place during the first lockdown, which took place in the spring of last year, where takeaway pints were allowed; a move that was credited with helping many hard-hit pubs stay afloat during the shutdown.

Trade body the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) says a wave of business failures is now imminent, unless a greater package of financial support from the Government is given to secure pubs and the brewers that supply them. 

“A third lockdown is yet another blow to our sector," says Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA.

"Particularly after it has faced an abysmally quiet Christmas and New Year’s, which saw many pubs remain closed over what is meant to be their busiest time of the year.

“The announcement [yesterday] adds to the woes of pubs as it shows they are a long way from reopening properly. The road to recovery for the pub sector just got longer."

McClarkin says businesses need to be provided with grants in line with those of the first lockdown, as well as the promise of additional support beyond April when the business rates holiday, lower VAT rates and furlough scheme all end.

“Having made it this far through the crisis, it would be disastrous if the Prime Minister didn’t now deliver the support our sector needs to ensure it makes it through to Easter when we hope to return back to normality.

“Without such support, this lockdown will just tip pubs over the edge meaning jobs vital to communities across England will be lost forever to the detriment of the economy in the long term.

“Ultimately we know that pubs will eventually be a part of the way out of this crisis and back to normality. Some are even offering themselves up as vaccine hubs, which drives home the fact losing them would do untold harm to our communities.”

The announcement of England's national lockdown came hours after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced similar measures for Scotland​, which also come into force today.

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