Alcohol takeaways to be banned in England until mid-February

All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services told to shut their doors

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Tuesday 05 January 2021 08:25 GMT
Boris Johnson announces a new national lockdown in England
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Alcohol takeaways are to be banned from tomorrow until mid-February in England as Boris Johnson clamps down on socialising under the new lockdown regime. 

All restaurants, pubs and other hospitality settings must close their doors to customers from tomorrow under the new rules announced by the prime minister in a televised statement from 10 Downing Street.

But in a tightening of the restrictions imposed under tier 4 of the PM’s regionalised system, while restaurants will be able to sell food and soft drinks for delivery, click-and-collect and takeaway, venues will no longer be able to serve takeaway or click-and-collect alcohol.

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It is understood that the ban is driven by concerns that customers buying takeaway alcohol from pub and bar doors would then congregate with friends nearby to drink.

All non-essential retail outlets, as well as personal care services such as hairdressers and nail bars, will be closed under the new regime, which is expected to last until at least 15 February.

Shops deemed to be essential, such as food stores, pharmacies, builders’ merchants and garden centres, will be allowed to remain open as in previous lockdowns. Shoppers will still be allowed to buy alcohol from supermarkets and other stores to take home to drink.

And places of worship will be open for individual prayer and socially-distanced communal worship, but congregants may only attend with people from their own household or support bubble. 

Socialising will be strictly limited under the new arrangements.

People in England will be able to meet outside with just one person from another household or support bubble for exercise.

But a government source stressed that this covered activities like walking, running or cycling and should not be taken as an excuse to sit down and have a drink together in the park in the guise of exercise.

Although there is no formal limit to the time spent outside, people are urged to restrict it to one exercise session a day and stay local.

Small children will be allowed to play together outside and - unlike the lockdown of last spring - playgrounds will remain open.

While elite sports such as Premier League football will continue, amateur team sports will not be permitted and indoor and outdoor venues like gyms, tennis courts and golf clubs will be closed.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “A third lockdown is yet another blow to our sector, particularly after it has faced an abysmally quiet Christmas and New Year, 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.

“Given the circumstances, a wave of business failures is imminent unless a greater package of financial support from the Government is given to secure pubs and the brewers that supply them.

“That means 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.”

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