ALL pubs and bars are currently closed as part of the nationwide lockdown announced on January 4.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a raft of new measures in a bid to drive down surging coronavirus infections caused by the mutant strain.
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When will pubs and bars reopen?
Pubs and bars will reopen when the Government deems it is safe to do so.
In previous lockdowns, this has been when the R rate has lessened significantly across the country, and when the NHS is not at risk of being overwhelmed by Covid patients.
However, it was revealed in January 2021, that pubs and bars will be one of the last businesses to reopen, with ministers looking at the bank holiday on May 3 as a possible date.
A source told The Sunday Times: “The May Day bank holiday is more likely the moment you see pubs reopening.”
Experts believe people are less likely to social distance once they've had a drink, and therefore want to approach reopening pubs very carefully.
When they do reopen Mr Johnson is planning to scrap the previous rule that a "substantial meal" has to be served with the drinks.
In 2020 the rules around pubs caused chaos as ministers struggled to clearly define what constituted a substantial meal.
The PM has ordered “a simplification” of rules meaning punters will not have to buy a scotch egg to get served – but revellers will be encouraged to drink outdoors.
The hated 10pm curfew will also not return when pubs finally reopen.
Ministers have pencilled in a return for takeaway pints in April, with pubs and bars able to reopen fully a month later.
But big groups will have to stay in beer gardens and on pavements to begin with as “ventilation is key”.
It is hoped half of adult Brits will have been vaccinated by May – with 32 million over 50s and the vulnerable on target to be jabbed by the end of April.
And that opens the door to pints in the spring sunshine as soon as April, and pubs by the second Bank Holiday weekend in May.
Ministers are determined for hospitality “to open properly this time” after many pubs were left economically unviable by the curfew and confusing tier restrictions on drinking with food.
The PM will set out a date for when pubs and restaurants can reopen when he announces the plan for ending lockdown in a speech on February 22.
When did pubs and bars close for the third lockdown?
Pubs and bars have been closed and reopened intermittently throughout 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
March 20, 2020 – Pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants closed shortly before the PM announced a national lockdown three days later
July 4, 2020 – Pubs, bars, and restaurants are allowed to reopen at 6am – apart from in Leicester, with the following rules:
- Most venues will be taking bookings only, including pubs, with two- or three-hour reservation slots available.
- It will be table service only, with tables spaced at least one metre apart.
- Queuing systems will be enforced with one-way arrows in place.
- Groups of up to six can sit together outdoors but you won't be able to mix with people from another household indoors.
- Contactless pay will be mandatory in most places and customers will have to leave their contact details with the venue for 21 days so they can be traced if needed.
- Cutlery and condiments won't be laid out on tables and some venues are even suggesting customers bring their own. Menus will also be limited and there will be no live music.
August 3, 2020 – Pubs in Leicester are allowed to reopen with coronavirus safety measures in place
September 14, 2020 – Rule of six is introduced, meaning people will only be able to meet in groups of six or under indoors
September 24, 2020 – A 10pm curfew is introduced, meaning hospitality venues must close at 10pm
October 12, 2020 – Boris Johnson introduced local Covid alert levels ranging from low to high. Hospitality venues in "high" areas must close
November 5, 2020 – A new, month-long, national lockdown is introduced and pubs are closed until December 2
December 3, 2020 – England exits the four-week lockdown and moves back into the Tier system, which has now been toughened up. Pubs must stay closed in Tier 3 regions
December 20, 2020 – "Tier 4" restrictions are introduced. Regions continue to be placed into the toughest tier intermittently until the new year. Pubs must remain closed in Tier 4
January 4, 2021 – Boris Johnson announces a third national lockdown. All pubs must close
February 1, 2021 – All pubs on the Isle of Man reopened after all lockdown restrictions were scrapped.
Can I get a takeaway from a pub or bar?
Takeaway pints are banned under the new national lockdown.
However, food and non-alcoholic drinks are still able to be sold as takeaway items or through click-and-collect and drive-through until 11pm.
The new guidance says that all food and drink – including alcohol – is allowed to be delivered.
Ministers have pencilled in a return for takeaway pints in April, and with pubs and bars able to reopen fully a month later.
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