Government closes tier three social club 'loophole'

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Loophole closed: 'there is no rational reason why a working men's club would have a different set of rules to the pub next door,' Tim Tomlinson from Lancaster Pub Watch said
Loophole closed: 'there is no rational reason why a working men's club would have a different set of rules to the pub next door,' Tim Tomlinson from Lancaster Pub Watch said

Related tags: Health and safety, Coronavirus, Legislation, Beer

The Government has closed an apparent loophole in its coronavirus alert system allowing social clubs in tier three to serve alcohol.

While pubs and bars subject to the more stringent level of Covid-19 restrictions must close unless they serve substantial meals, some social clubs had continued to serve alcohol without food after being given the green light by their local authority.

Councils argued that tier three regulations did not cover private members' clubs because they operate under a different law which effectively means its members own the drink already.

However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care clarified that the legislation had been amended so that it covered the provision of alcohol on premises, not just its sale.

Slowly die

While one club owner in Preston, Lancashire, told the BBC that the loophole’s closure meant the business would now "slowly die", Tim Tomlinson from Lancaster Pub Watch said it was right that rules "should be the same" and "it has to be consistent".

"There is no rational reason why a working men's club would have a different set of rules to the pub next door,” he explained. 

"You'll just get thousands of people queuing up to join the working men's club and they'll be chock-a-block."

According to the BBC, there are thousands of members' clubs across England, including Conservative clubs, working men's clubs and sports clubs.

43.9% of pubs under high restrictions

Figures from real estate advisor Altus Group on 21 October that some 43.69% of all pubs​ in England were currently under ‘high’ or ‘very high’ restrictions including closures.

However, as reported by The Morning Advertiser​, South Yorkshire​ has since joined Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region in the highest tier of the Government’s Covid alert system.

What’s more, close to 1,000 pubs will have been forced to close over the past few days after Warrington​ moved into tier three on Tuesday 27 October where it will be joined by Nottinghamshire​ today (30 October).

The latest Hospitality Leaders Poll carried out by Lumina Intelligence on behalf of The Morning Advertiser​​, MCA​, Restaurant​​ and Big Hospitality​​, also revealed that a third of hospitality businesses​ in the ‘very high’ tier do not have sufficient support to remain viable and have either closed already or plan to do so.

Related topics: Legislation

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