Are pubs and restaurants closing? New national lockdown rules explained

BRITS face a new national lockdown from Thursday (November 5, 2020) as the government attempts to curb rising coronavirus infections in England.

Boris Johnson confirmed last night (Saturday October 31) that England would go into "lockdown 2" as Covid-19 numbers rise sharply. But how are pubs and restaurants affected by the new measures?

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Are pubs and restaurants closing in the UK?

In a speech to the nation on Saturday, October 31, Boris Johnson announced the UK will go back into lockdown from November 5 to December 2.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close from Thursday for four weeks across England.

People will be allowed to exercise and socialise in public spaces outside with their household or one other person, but not indoors or in private gardens, and will be able to travel to work if they cannot work from home.

Yet unlike in the lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic, schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.

The Prime Minister said the restrictions would end on December 2, when the Government would reintroduce local restrictions based on the latest data and trends.

It comes after pubs in England faced different rules depending on what area of the country they were located in.

But now, the new blanket measures will force all drinking establishments to shut regardless of whether they are in "high" or "very high" alert level.

The recent changes in England follow Scotland, where strict measures have already been imposed on the hospitality sector.

On Friday, October 9, pubs and restaurants across the central belt were ordered to shut for two weeks, though they too can continue to serve takeaway. 

In England, when national lockdown finishes, it is thought localised tier restrictions will come back into force and will run in four-week blocks, subject to a monthly review. 

For pubs and bars in 'very high' level/tier three areas, this means closures unless they can offer a substantial meal. Restaurants are allowed to stay open in these areas. 

In tier two/ the 'high' level areas, multiple households are banned from mixing indoors, though the rule of six applies in outdoor environments, such as pub gardens.

The 10pm curfew will remain in place for pubs and restaurants in 'high' level/tier two areas. 

What are the new rules?

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail across the nation will close.

However takeaway food and click-and-collect shopping can remain open.

Unfortunately though, unlike the first national lockdown, pubs will be unable to serve takeaway alcohol to their customers.

The rules say: "Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed."

That means that pubs and bars with kitchens will still be able to do takeaway food for the lockdown period but all booze is banned.

This is dire news for the UK hospitality sector, which has already been destroyed by the coronavirus crisis.

CAMRA’s National Chairman, Nik Antona, said: "The second lockdown is a devastating blow for an industry that is already on its knees.

"Pubs across the country have already invested thousands to reopen COVID-safe environments despite facing seriously reduced incomes."

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