Takeaway alcohol sales to be restricted in England

The new national restrictions in England, which will be introduced on Thursday pending parliamentary approval, have banned takeaway alcohol sales from hospitality outlets.

Update 3/11/20 18:20: The government has updated its guidance. Click here for the latest news. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to set out his plans for the four-week lockdown in England in parliament this afternoon. These include the closure of hospitality outlets until the beginning of December. But, in contrast to the first national lockdown, it appears pubs, restaurants and bars in England will only be allowed to serve takeaway food and soft drinks.

A number of industry bodies including UKHospitality (UKH), the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) are calling for this restriction to be lifted.

UKH and the BBPA told the drinks business that they believe selling alcohol for delivery is still permitted but that takeaway and click and collect sales are not.

A spokesperson for UKH said: “Delivery should be allowed, but nothing where customers visit the premises.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, added: “We cannot see the logic of letting supermarkets and shops sell alcohol, but not pubs that have off-licenses. Government should reverse this decision immediately to help pubs and brewers survive and pints being needlessly wasted.”

The queue for The Radius Arms micropub in Whyteleafe, Surrey, which offered takeaway beer during the first lockdown. Image: Phoebe French, taken 9 May 2020.

James Calder, chief executive of SIBA, agrees. “As if a second national lockdown in England wasn’t disastrous enough for pubs and independent breweries, the government has gone further this time around and introduced an unjustified restriction banning pubs from selling takeaway beer, a service which was the only source of income for many businesses during the summer lockdown. This is baffling considering supermarkets will presumably still be allowed to sell packaged beer, whilst small breweries and pubs will not,” he said.

“It is nonsensical to impose these new restrictions when pubs have time and time again proved that they are Covid secure, both during lockdown when takeaway was their only option and since pubs re-opened on the 4 July.”

SIBA is calling on the government to provide evidence for the ban on takeaway alcohol sales as well as clarifying whether bottle shops inside breweries, are like off-licences, considered essential retail and will be allowed to remain open.

the drinks business has contacted the Cabinet Office for comment.

Once approved, the restrictions are due to come into force from 5 November and will last until 2 December. The Labour party has already stated that it will support the lockdown, but has criticised the delay in it being implemented.

Speaking to Sky News over the weekend, cabinet minister Michael Gove said national restrictions could be extended beyond 2 December “based on evidence”.

He said: “We want to be in a position where we can – and I believe that this is likely to be the case – have an approach where if we bring down the rate of infection sufficiently we can reduce measures nationally and also reduce measures regionally.”

9 Responses to “Takeaway alcohol sales to be restricted in England”

  1. A Evans says:

    If all pubs with off sales licence, invoice the treasury for the loss of beer as wasteage they will have to reverse the no takeaway sales, as the cost will be massive

  2. Once again the government thinks we are all ignorant and just accept their ridiculous lock down measures non of which make any sense. That goes for the hospitaliy and retail industries. There will be a pattern of lock downs for years the people will eventually rebel and ignore the rules. This government needs to see sense, look at the evidence of other infections and compare all the other health issues this country is facing, and stop blaming the hospitality and retail outlets.

    • Beaker says:

      You are part of the problem then and the reason why a second lockdown is required, had you and others like you followed the rules religiously then the second lockdown, which presumably you are going to ignore, would not have been necessary.

      I bet you voted for this incompetent bunch too so they would “get Brexit done”

  3. Daniel says:

    Where do all the MPs and ministerial colleagues go during lockdown to get their beer some off license in Durham?

  4. Martin baker says:

    Now anyone with any common sense knows this situation is being weaponised . The monopolisation of the business infrastructure is apparent! Everyone will be on universal credit until hell freezes over .

  5. MR SEAN ANSBRO says:

    Last Lockdown some pubs sold plastic glasses of drinks at pub not takeaway prices to crowds around their premises. If publicans are looking for a reason that they cannot sell takeaway this time there not looking very hard.

  6. Roy Lowe says:

    So the people in the micro pub queue will be fine now they can join the queue in or outside the supermarket? FFS! Isn’t it better to disperse queuing? I know! Lets all go to the offy next to the school at 15:30 instead. Hi Kids!

  7. Stevetickner says:

    A senseless decision. No thought whatsoever for those concerned about jobs and businesses. So its now two trips out for a takeaway to support my local…then i have to get in the car again or walk….to the other shop for a beer. Stupid senseless and incompetent. More mixing..touching surfaces…breathing even….these overpaid and severly underworked ministers are making it up as they go along.

  8. Martyn says:

    Pubs need to survive…! As a classic rock dj who hasnt been able to work in bars since the first lockdown, new rules seem ludicrous. Supermarkets can survive, make profits while small bars are constantly on the verge of being shut down even after obeying all the rules.?? What the hell is going on.? The whole situation makes NO SENSE..! The goverment needs to reverse and have a rethink before it is too late… Martyn. (Martyns Rock Shack)……

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