'Substantial meal' rule to be scrapped when pubs reopen

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

'Substantial meal' rule to be scrapped when pubs reopen

Related tags Coronavirus tier system Coronavirus lockdown Pub Scotch egg

Rules demanding pubs in England only be allowed to open if they serve a 'substantial meal' are set to be scrapped as and when the sector is able to unlock.

It is reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to ditch the measure, which forced the majority of pubs in Tier 2 areas to remain closed when tighter restrictions were imposed on the sector in December following England's second national lockdown. 

At the time the rule left minsters scrambling to explain what constituted a ‘substantial meal’​, and led to bemusing arguments between MPs and high-profile journalists over whether a scotch egg counted.

Later this month the Prime Minister will set out a roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions in England, which is set to start with reopening schools on 8 March.

It is understood that the plan will include a date for when pubs and restaurants can reopen.

According to The Times​, an easing to limits on socialising and playing sports outdoors will follow in the weeks after schools are reopened.

Activities that can take place outdoors will be prioritised as the country moves to unlock the economy, with outside markets expected to return before high street shops, and al fresco drinking and dining allowed before eating indoors.

The rules will be applied nationwide after ministers decided not to return to the regional system of tiers​ when they lift restrictions.

Government sources warned the plans are still 'tentative' and so far only the earliest date schools can return has been agreed.

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