Takeaway pint ban means 'lifeline strangled'

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Takeaway pints: pubs can only deliver alcohol under the third national lockdown in England
Takeaway pints: pubs can only deliver alcohol under the third national lockdown in England

Related tags lockdown Beer Coronavirus Drinks Legislation Health and safety ukhospitality

The Government has been slammed for banning pubs from selling takeaway pints during England’s third national lockdown.

New regulations​ have amended existing laws and excluded alcohol sales from what is permitted to be sold for takeaway from pubs.

Pubs are allowed to sell takeaways of food and non-alcoholic drinks, apart from between the hours of 11pm and 5am.

Food and drink, including alcohol products, can be provided by delivery with no time restrictions. The Morning Advertiser​ has been seeking to clarify what the exact rules around delivery of alcohol are and will update its coverage accordingly.

Guidance on the Government website states​: "Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery."

Grossly unfair

Organisations including the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have been pressing the Government to reverse this decision.

“Supermarkets and off-licences can still sell alcohol, so it is grossly unfair that pubs with off-licences now cannot sell takeaway beer,” BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said. 

“Especially as pubs have no other revenue source right now. We are writing to the Government requesting them to reverse the ban as a matter of urgency.”

CAMRA has asked consumers to write to their MPs about the move, ahead of a vote on the lockdown laws this afternoon (Wednesday 6 January).

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said that although takeaway alcohol sales were unlikely to be a huge revenue stream, “they will undoubtedly have been a valuable lifeline for some venues.”

Lack of logic

She added: “That lifeline is now being strangled, making survival even harder for lots of businesses. If the Government’s intention is to discourage people congregating outdoors, there doesn’t seem to be too much logic in it. 

“Arguably, people will just go to supermarkets or off licences and buy cans or bottles, while stock in closed pubs goes to waste and compounds pubs’ losses. This does seem to be another example of hospitality being scapegoated, yet again.”

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been asked to explain the reasons behind the decision and this article will be updated on receipt of a response.

The Morning Advertiser’s​ editor Ed Bedginton said the move had further cemented the feeling of victimisation across the sector”. 

“People who are determined to meet up with their friends at minus one in the street are going to do that regardless,” he added.

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