Hospitality excluded from nationwide Christmas plans
Travel and household mixing restrictions will be eased over Christmas, but restrictions on hospitality will remain in place.
Travel restrictions across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and between tiers will be lifted to provide a window for up to three households to come together between the 23 and 27 December.
Each ‘Christmas bubble' will be able to meet at home, a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained.
This means the rule of six will still apply to businesses in Tier 1 in England and household mixing indoors in hospitality will not be permitted from Tier 2. In Tier 3 businesses will remain closed.
The government is expected to announce tomorrow which areas will fall into which tiers. In Wales, only four people or one household can meet in a hospitality venue, while Scotland's five-tier restrictions will continue to apply, with 11 of its council areas in Tier 4 with hospitality closed.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: "These plans for Christmas make a mockery of the extra restrictions being placed on pubs and the economic devastation they are facing this Christmas.
"How can it be that pubs cannot properly open while households can mix in private settings? The government data has consistently shown that house-to-house transmission is one of the highest, whereas hospitality has accounted for as little as 2% of Covid incidences when open.
"Pubs are a controlled, safe and regulated environment to socialise in, following all government guidelines and working with NHS track and trace. They are part of the solution for a safe and enjoyable Christmas, not the problem.
"It seems the government has chosen to inflict unnecessary pain and irreversible damage on our sector without publishing evidence alongside these decisions.
"If the government is really going to stop pubs from opening this Christmas, then they must be fully compensated. Christmas is the most important time of the year for trade in our sector. This year more than ever. Without it, thousands will not survive the winter unless the government does the right thing and steps in with financial support to help them. That means grants that fully cover their fixed costs, like during the first lockdown."