Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Lockdown will end in Tiers (2 and 3 for most of England)

Published:  26 November, 2020

The end of lockdown will bring little relief for England’s hospitality sector, which is returning to the rule of alcohol “only to be served with substantial meals” or stricter for most of the country.

At this morning’s announcement, Matt Hancock confirmed that 31 areas in England will be heading into the highest level of restrictions on 2 December when the country emerges from full lockdown.

38 areas are bound for Tier 2, while just three parts of England will be under Tier 1, the lowest level of restrictions.

Under Tier 2, which includes London and Liverpool, pubs, restaurants and bars must either serve ‘substantial meals’ or close. Last orders will be at 10pm and venues must close by 11pm.

In Tier 3 (Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle), on-trade operators will only be able to open for deliveries.

The Rule of Six and 10pm curfew will also return, with the new system expected to be in place until the spring (via a limited relaxing of rules at Christmas).

The tighter restrictions, which include mandatory closures for drinks-only pubs and bars under Tier 2, have received harsh criticism from various quarters.

On Tuesday, the British Beer and Pub Association said the limits would “destroy our sector” while pub chains complained of being singled out.

The Institute of Economic Affairs, a think tank, has said there is “no scientific basis” for insisting that drinks should be served with food. Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics there, said that Tier 2 restrictions were “a death sentence for countless pubs and restaurants”.

There has also been some confusion over what is classed ‘a substantial meal’.

“That’s the unanswered question,” Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), told Harpers yesterday.

“While the government hasn’t done a great job [overall], it’s extremely difficult to do. With Christmas, where you’ve more or less got to make up your own mind, within reason and within limits, government has been criticised for being too open or too restricted. It’s just very hard to get it right.”

He added that overall communication from government over the changing coronavirus strategy has been “very poor”.