Takeaway alcohol banned as England comes under lockdown until mid-February

04 January 2021 by
Takeaway alcohol banned as England comes under lockdown until mid-February

Takeaway alcohol will be banned in England until the latest lockdown ends in mid-February, although alcohol can continue to be provided by delivery.

Once again, people may only leave home for limited reasons such as shopping for essentials, work if it is impossible to work from home, exercise or to seek medical assistance. Prime minister Boris Johnson said the public should follow the lockdown rules immediately, which will become law from Wednesday morning.

From tomorrow (5 January), primary and secondary schools and colleges across England will move to online learning, although nurseries may remain open. Children eligible for free school meals will continue to receive them while schools are closed.

Although the prime minister said he hoped the country will be able to steadily move out of lockdown and schools reopen after the February half-term, he also said he remained "cautious" about the timetable.

Johnson said: "It's clear that we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out," and that a "lockdown tough enough to contain this variant" was needed as the country enters the "last phase of the struggle".

UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: "Tighter restrictions are a clear and grave indication that we are still a long way from normality. That means hospitality businesses are a long way from being able to begin to trade their way back to safety and keep jobs alive.

"In which case, the government has to be clear about how it is going to make the best possible use of this time. It needs to be used effectively to provide a rapid and extensive roll out of the vaccine and we need a clear exit strategy along with a road map for recovery and business support.

"The hospitality sector can assist in the rapid roll out of the vaccine and we are keen to repay the support shown to us. Our sector is sitting on well-ventilated, Covid-secure spaces such as hotels, conference centres, pubs and restaurants which can be used and businesses are already coming forward to offer locations to expedite a mass vaccination programme."

She concluded: "It is also more important than ever that hospitality businesses, who were hit first and hardest by this crisis are given another package of grants to keep businesses alive. This has to come alongside an extension of the VAT cut and business rates holiday, which were already urgently needed even before these further restrictions were announced."

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), said: "A third lockdown is yet another blow to our sector. Particularly after it has faced an abysmally quiet Christmas and New Year's, which saw many pubs remain closed over what is meant to be their busiest time of the year.

"The announcement today adds to the woes of pubs as it shows they are a long way from reopening properly. The road to recovery for the pub sector just got longer."

McClarkin said a wave of business failures is imminent without a greater package of financial support from the government is given to secure pubs and the brewers that supply them, including grants in line with those in the first lockdown and support beyond April when the business rates holiday, lower VAT rates and furlough scheme all end.

She added: "Without such support, this lockdown will just tip pubs over the edge meaning jobs vital to communities across England will be lost forever to the detriment of the economy in the long term.

"Ultimately we know that pubs will eventually be a part of the way out of this crisis and back to normality. Some are even offering themselves up as vaccine hubs, which drives home the fact losing them would do untold harm to our communities."

Photo: Shutterstock

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