Bars and restaurants in England will be allowed to serve takeaway pints during the second lockdown after all, the government has confirmed.
New legislation states that pre-ordered alcohol can be collected by customers – provided they do not enter the venue.
All orders must be placed online, via phone, or by text message – and customers cannot congregate in groups when they pick up their bottles or cans.
Alcohol deliveries will also be allowed.
The hospitality sector is reverting back to takeaway service only from Thursday (November 5) – with incoming restrictions forcing pubs, bars and restaurants in England to close for four weeks.
During the first lockdown in spring and summer, some pubs took the opportunity to serve takeaway pints – allowing people to visit the premises to buy alcohol and then take it back home with them.
But following the new lockdown address last weekend, the government published an initial set of guidelines that banned serving alcohol as part of any takeaway service this time around.
The announcement resulted in a backlash from the hospitality sector, with representatives saying the ability to serve alcohol via click-and-collect and delivery proved to be a “lifeline” earlier in the year.
Now, the government has performed a u-turn – with confirmation they will be permitting pints-to-go during the second national lockdown.
Kate Nichols of lobby group UK Hospitality, said: “It is a welcome and helpful clarification that pubs and restaurants will be permitted to continue with off-licence sales of alcohol through delivery, as well as click and collect for pre-ordered sales.
“This was a lifeline to many businesses in the first lockdown and it is good to see common sense prevail this time too – avoiding waste and providing a valuable community service – although we can see no reason why a pub could not operate as a retail outlet for pre-packaged food and drink as many did last time.”
Over 307,000 pints are set to be poured down the drain in Manchester this week, with pubs rushing to clear their lines before the lockdown comes into effect on Thursday.