Pubs could sell takeaway beers during lockdown after plans u-turn
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Pubs will be able to sell takeaway pints during lockdown following fears a ban on takeaway alcohol sales would cut off a “vital lifeline” for the hospitality industry.
The government had announced serving alcohol to take away was banned under new restrictions which come into force on Thursday.
But proposed regulations published on Tuesday say pubs, bars and restaurants will be permitted to sell takeaway alcohol during England’s second national lockdown if it is pre-ordered online, or via phone or post.
It will be voted on in the House of Commons on Wednesday and, if backed by MPs, the rules says that customers will be able to collect pre-ordered drinks as long as they do not enter a premises.
Pub owners and campaigners had previously urged the Government to reverse the “baffling” and “nonsensical” decision to restrict the sale of takeaway alcohol during a second national lockdown.
During the initial lockdown pubs were allowed to sell draught beer in four pint containers and many including the Beehive and the Fat Cat Brewery Tap, both in Norwich, did.
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Phil Cutter, who runs the Murderers, on Timber Hill, Norwich, had previously slammed the government’s decision to ban the sale of takeaway alcohol as “disappointing and inconsistent.”
He added: “People can go to the supermarket and buy beer from big multi-national companies. Independent businesses need to be supported. My concern is that if we get to Christmas, will the government keep pubs shut until the New Year? I make 20pc of my annual profit in December which subsidises the months when we’re not as busy.”
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Dawn Hopkins, landlady at the Rose Inn, on Queens Road, Norwich, had expressed fears over selling 300 pints of real ale by Wednesday evening and around 500 pints in the cellar with a sell-by date of late December.
She said: “These have either been paid for or need to be paid for this month. That’s with me being cautious and not doing a beer order last week but a lot of publicans will be in a much worse position.
“Anything left will be wasted because we can’t sell takeaway alcohol during lockdown. There’s nothing else we can do but to get rid of it.”
However, responding to the government’s U-turn, Nik Antona, chairman of CAMRA, 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 emailed 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.