From December 2, restrictions on pubs and restaurants will be subject to a revised tier system that will replace the current national lockdown. This means rules for hospitality will change depending on the tier.
On Thursday, the government announced which areas are in which tiers, with Manchester, Birmingham, Kent, Yorkshire, the North East and parts of Essex falling into the highest tier with the toughest restrictions. Whilst the new system has stricter rules than those before the second lockdown, the 10pm hospitality curfew will be extended to 11pm for lower tiers.
Until December 2, all pubs and restaurants will remain closed, apart from those able to offer takeaways, click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery.
Here’s everything you need to know about pubs, restaurants and the new tier system.
Tier 1 (medium level) rules for pubs and restaurants
When the England lockdown ends on December 2, pubs, restaurants and cafés can open, operating in a Covid-secure manner and offering table service only. Even pubs that do not serve food are allowed to open.
The ‘rule of six’ will apply in Tier 1, allowing up to six members of different households to mix both indoors and outdoors.
The curfew system will be relaxed slightly from December 2: previously, customers in Tier 1 pubs had to leave the premises by 10pm. Under the new rules, last orders will be called at 10pm, with people allowed to finish their food and drinks by 11pm.
Tier 2 (high level) rules for pubs and restaurants
Pubs, restaurants and cafés are allowed to reopen (and serve alcohol) from December 2 but only if they serve substantial meals – this means that ‘wet-led pubs’ and bars that don’t serve food cannot open.
In Tier 2 venues, only people of the same household can visit and it will be table service only. The ‘rule of six’ (which allows six members of different households to come together) will apply outdoors.
The one-hour extension to the curfew also applies to pubs and restaurants in this tier, with last orders at 10pm and punters needing to leave by 11pm.
Tier 3 (very high level) rules for pubs and restaurants
The hospitality industry takes the biggest hit under the revised restrictions in Tier 3.
From December 2, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open for a takeaway service only. Previously, hospitality venues were allowed to stay open if they served substantial meals.
The tier system will be reviewed in a fortnight. You can also check what tier you’re in here.
Can I travel to pubs in different tiers?
While there are no restrictions on movement within Tier 1 areas, people in Tier 2 are advised to reduce the number of journeys they make within their own areas where possible. Walking and cycling is recommended if travel is necessary.
In Tier 3, meanwhile, the new restrictions state that people should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘very high’ area they are in, other than for things like work, education, or to meet caring responsibilities – meaning that Tier 3 residents should not visit pubs in the lower tiers.
What about pubs outside of England?
Different rules apply to the other nations of the United Kingdom.
Scotland operates under a five-level system of local restrictions. In the highest level, 4, non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants are shut until December 11. In Level 3 areas, hospitality businesses are banned from selling alcohol and must close by 6pm.
You can go to a Welsh pub or restaurant with up to three other people, from different households, excluding children aged under 11, who do not live with you. This is subject to face coverings and a 10pm curfew on alcohol sales.
Ministers in Northern Ireland have decided to close pubs and restaurants until December 10. Unlicensed cafés are open until November 27, when they will also shut up shop.
What does this mean for the hospitality industry – and for Christmas?
The Prime Minister recently apologised for what he called “the unavoidable hardship” experienced by workers in the hospitality industry, but said the ‘Covid winter plan’ aims to allow a loosening of restrictions for Christmas, in order for three households to meet for five days.
The measures – which are significantly tougher than under the previous tier system – were described as “catastrophic” by pub chiefs on November 22, with a warning that one million jobs are now on the line.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said the news is “far worse than anyone could have anticipated”. If the tiers had stayed as they were until March, she said, “we were already expecting 94 per cent of businesses in Tier 3 and 74 per cent of businesses in Tier 2 to go to the wall. Now we have restrictions that are even worse.
“This will have a catastrophic effect on a large number of businesses and all those jobs that were furloughed will now be lost. You are talking about the prospect of a million job losses and 30 to 40,000 premises closing their doors for good. This a cruel decision and it just feels as if the whole sector is being thrown to the wolves.”
The tier restrictions are expected to be reviewed on December 16, and areas which make progress in slowing the spread of the virus could still be moved down a tier before Christmas.
But there will be no relaxation of the rules on pubs and restaurants, meaning hospitality venues in the new Tier 3 will remain shut.
What do you make of the new restrictions? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below
Source: The Telegraph Travels