Government updates takeaway alcohol sales and essential retail guidance

The government has updated its guidance on takeaway alcohol sales from hospitality outlets and what is considered essential retail in England ahead of the vote in parliament. Here’s what we know so far.

The government has set out some circumstances in which the sale of alcohol is permitted by hospitality outlets during the four-week lockdown in England.

Alcohol is allowed to be sold for consumption off the premises by two different methods:

  • Alcohol purchased for delivery is allowed, and orders can be placed online, by email, text, phone or post.
  • People can also pre-order alcohol and collect it in a vehicle, but they must remain in their vehicle and not enter the premises.

As in the first lockdown, off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol, which include breweries, are considered essential retailers and are permitted to remain open throughout.

Food and drink, but not alcohol, can be collected between 5am and 10pm, but customers must not enter the premises. After 10pm, it can only be served via delivery or drive-through.

Consumption of both food and drink on-premise is banned, including in areas adjacent to the site and outdoor seating.

The new coronavirus guidance for England, due to be voted on by parliament tomorrow (4 November), can be viewed here. 

Reacting to the news, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said it welcomed the update.

CAMRA’s national chairman Nik Antona said: “I am delighted that the government has listened to the concerns of thousands of CAMRA members, concerned pub-goers, and beer lovers who have e-mailed their MPs in the last 48 hours urging the government to allow pubs and breweries to sell alcohol as takeaway during the second lockdown.

“This is a vital lifeline for local pubs and breweries across England over the coming four weeks, giving them a lifeline of income and allowing people to support local businesses.

“CAMRA continues to call on the government to bring in a comprehensive, long-term financial support package to support all pubs and breweries through the lockdown and the tough months that will follow this winter. Without a sector-specific support package, we risk seeing thousands of pubs and breweries closing their doors for good.”

the drinks business has contacted the Cabinet Office for further clarification, and will update the article accordingly.

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