Boris Johnson today gave his backing to savvy pub landlords who are using takeaways as a way of providing customers with a ‘substantial meal’.
Downing Street has given the thumbs-up for ‘wet pubs’ – which do not normally serve meals – to team up with local fast food outlets in order to carry on pulling pints.
However a spokesman said pubs must be in an agreement with ‘local restaurants’ in order to keep within England’s new Covid Tier 2 rules.
Punters will not be allowed to bring their own food into a pub – pouring cold water on plans to use food delivery services such as Deliveroo.
New rules, which came into force in England today, mean landlords in Tier 2 areas can only sell alcoholic beverages with a ‘substantial meal’.
But the rules have left landlords at kitchen-less pubs facing a dilemma – with some turning to serving takeaway food in a bid to keep the pints flowing.
One pub in Worcester today joined forces with a local fish and chip shop to provide food to drinkers.
Meanwhile a bar in central London is planning to allow customers order McDonald’s as a way of getting around the rules.
However Downing Street today said pub-goers and landlords would need to exercise their judgement in deciding what complied with the coronavirus restrictions.
Landlords in Tier 2 areas can only sell alcoholic beverages with a ‘substantial meal’ under new rules which come into force in England today – so the Brewer’s Arms in Worcester has teamed up with a local chippie to allow it to serve food
Michael Sutton tucks into his pie and chips from St John’s Fish Bar with a pint at the Brewers Arms, Worcester
Michael Selsby enjoys a ‘substantial’ sausage and chips from a nearby takeaway with his pint of cider at the pub
Sarah Mowatt, 26, was nursing a San Miguel after heading straight to the pub after hearing they had reopened
Damian Brady, 66, was enjoying a drink at the Asparagus with his fellow regulars Steve Baker, 65, and their friend Sidney
Eager pub-goers were seen returning to watering-holes this morning for a pint in the pub (pictured: Two people enjoy a drink at the Five Degree West in Falmouth, Cornwall
Asked whether Deliveroo orders could be sent to pubs to comply with the requirement to have a ‘substantial meal’ in Tier 2 areas, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said customers were banned from bringing in food purchased elsewhere.
‘It’s for both customers and venues to act reasonably and to exercise good judgement when adhering to these regulations,’ the spokesman said.
‘But businesses that do not ordinarily serve food may enter into a contracting arrangement with other local restaurants, for example, in order that they are able to do so and remain open.
What can you do in a pub in each tier?
- Tier 1 – Pubs are open for alcohol or food with people from different households allowed to sit together.
- Tier 2 – Pubs can only serve alcohol with a ‘substantial meal’. People from different households can only sit together outside, and must follow the ‘rule of six’. Those sitting inside the pub at the same table must be from the same household.
- Tier 3 – Pubs are closed for everything but takeaway.
‘However, allowing customers to bring food into the premises that has been purchased elsewhere in order to consume alcohol remains prohibited.’
It comes as eager pub-goers were seen returning to watering-holes this morning for a full-English breakfast and a pint, after a month of being locked out during the national shutdown.
One man even filmed himself knocking back a pint of Guinness today as he sat eating a breakfast in a Wetherspoon’s pub.
But on Wethersoon’s punter railed against the restrictions after claiming her had been limited to ordering just three pints.
Keith Hill, 57, who was drinking in the Rising Sun in Redditch, Worcestershire, told the Sun: ‘I’m limited to three pints, which will be gone in an hour. So I’m going to go to the pub down the road for a couple more.’
While most pub-goers enjoyed a happy and stress-free return to food-serving watering-holes across England today, wet pub owners were left scrabbling for ways to reopen.
In Worcester, one kitchen-less pub is teaming up with a nearby fish and chip shop in order to stay open under Tier 2 rules.
Mark and Debie Daniels, of The Brewers Arms, which has no kitchen, have partnered with Nick Zipiti of St John’s Fish Bar.
It means The Brewers Arms can keep pulling pints – which they would be otherwise unable to do without serving a substantial meal alongside.
The pub will operate around the chip shop’s usual hours and customers will be asked to order food at the bar before being able to buy a drink.
Mrs Daniels told MailOnline: ‘I have phoned up trading standards’ regulator services and the council’s licensing officer, we’ve done everything that we could do.
‘We have ticked all the boxes and everything’s fine.
‘I’m really excited because it’s now two businesses combining together to allow the pub to open.
The Brewers Arms (pictured) is teaming up with a nearby fish and chip shop in order to stay open under Tier 2 rules
It means The Brewers Arms can keep pulling pints – which they would be otherwise unable to do without serving a substantial meal alongside
Mark and Debie Daniels, of The Brewers Arms (pictured left), which has no kitchen, has partnered with Nick Zipiti (pictured right) of St John’s Fish Bar, according to Worcester News
The pub will operate around the chip shop’s usual hours and customers will be asked to order food at the bar before being able to buy a drink
The pub is teaming up with nearby St John’s Fish Bar in Worcester to allow them to provide a ‘substantial meal’ in order to sell their pints
‘It’s important for our customers to get out of the house. It’s a different atmosphere around them rather than sat on their own.
‘It enables them to get together and have a couple of hours to share a few chats and some food.’
She added: ‘With no customers we cannot function and will do whatever we can legally to get a cash flow and pay the bills.
‘We have to open in the chip shop hours but this is only for two weeks and hopefully we can open longer after. We’re just seeing how it goes.
‘The food aspect of us opening is not profitable to us. We are not making anything on the food. Nick has even cut his prices on certain foods. We are still significantly losing.’
Eric Chestnutt from Ryde, Isle of Wight, drinks in the Crown Hotel pub. The Isle of Wight, along with Cornwall and the Isles of Scily, are in Tier 1, meaning no substantial meal is required to buy alcohol
Nick Zipiti, 39, owner of St Johns Fish Bar, said: ‘I think this it’s great and it will help save jobs.
‘I have got a licensed kitchen and they haven’t – so it was a simple solution. I thought ‘why not?’
Chris Hall, 68, from Worcester, a retired contract cleaner, said: ‘It’s brilliant, I use this pub seven days a week.
‘I’m excited, I’m not sure how it’s going to go but we hope it goes well and everyone appreciates what we are doing and enjoys a bit of time in a pub after a long time away.’
One customer Chris Hall, 68, from Worcester, a retired contract cleaner, was happy with the arrangement. He said: ‘It’s brilliant, I use this pub seven days a week.
‘I think it’s a clever idea using the chippy and I didn’t think they would allow it, but obviously they have.
‘It’s great for the pub to be open again and I hope it lasts.
‘Hopefully, we may come down to Tier 1 soon and it means they can reopen properly.’
Steve Owen, 67, from Worcester, a retired lorry driver, said: ‘I’m usually down here four or five times a week.
‘It’s such a brilliant idea – it’s helping two businesses out at the same time.
‘It will be good to be back to normal eventually and I think it will drop down to Tier 1 soon.’
Dave Lampitt, 67, from Worcester, a retired maintenance factory worker, said: ‘It’s ideal as I do like the chippy shop as well.
‘We have to have something to eat but we’re still in a pub.
‘Whether you’re having a drink or something to eat, we’re still here and that’s the main thing as other areas haven’t been so lucky.’
It comes as other pubs look at ways around the Tier 2 rules – including serving up scotch eggs with their drinks.
A barmaid at the Windmill Pub, Mayfair, London was today pictured serving beers with a scotch egg and sausage roll today.
It comes as other pubs look at ways around the Tier 2 rules – including serving up scotch eggs with their drinks
A barmaid at the Windmill Pub, Mayfair, London was pictured serving beers with a scotch egg and sausage roll today
Meanwhile, an owner of the The Star Pub in Oxford vowed to sell scotch eggs if it meant they could continue pulling pints.
Gus Rogers, the new owner of The Star pub, on Rectory Road, told the Oxford Mail: ‘The scotch egg thing is ridiculous – but if the government says we need scotch eggs we will get scotch eggs.’
Another pub landlord has jokingly renamed an ale ‘Substantial Meal’ in a cheeky bid to get around new Covid-19 restrictions.
Brett Mendoza, 40, who owns the Caxton Arms in Brighton, East Sussex, came up with the idea while discussing what constitutes a substantial meal with another landlord after the latest measures were announced last week.
Brett Mendoza (right), 40, who owns the Caxton Arms in Brighton, came up with the idea (left) as a joke while discussing what constitutes a substantial meal with another landlord
An image of the spoof beer pump clip, which is from the ‘made up brewery’ and described as ‘hearty, filling and flavoursome’, was posted to social media last Wednesday, captioned: ‘Bring on Tier 2’.
The post has garnered over 1,600 likes and more than 200 shares, with one social media user commenting: ‘Along with a bag of crisps and a pickled egg, substantial enough meal for anyone.’
Another simply tweeted: ‘Brilliant’, while a third added: ‘I love that’.
Meanwhile, one pub looking to enlist the help of takeaway services is The G-A-Y bar in London’s Soho.
The bar does not normally serve food. But it is preparing to let customers have McDonald’s delivered in a bid to get round the rules.
However such a scheme may be prevented according to the guidance issued by Downing Street today.
Owner Jeremy Joseph told the Sun: ‘McDonald’s was chosen because of its cheap menu which means everyone can socialise no matter their budget.’
It comes as Matt Hancock today dodged the question of whether pubs and takeaways could team up in Tier 2 areas in order for watering holes to continue serving alcohol.
Speaking to Sky News today, Mr Hancock was asked repeatedly whether a wet pub could have a takeaway delivered in order to serve alcoholic drinks to customers in Tier 2.
One pub looking to enlist the help of takeaway services is The G-A-Y bar in London’s Soho. The bar does not normally serve food
But the Soho bar is preparing to let customers have McDonald’s delivered in a bid to get round the rules
In the latest round of interviews in which cabinet ministers faced a grilling over food in pubs, the Health Secretary did not say whether watering holes could use takeaway services as way to continue pourings pints
Diners will be able to eat al fresco outside central London restaurants for next six months
Diners will be able to eat in al fresco outside central London restaurants for the next six months, it was revealed today.
Pubs and restaurants in the capital will be allowed to reopen tomorrow under Tier 2 coronavirus rules, along with much of the rest of the country.
Diners will be allowed to eat together as long as there are a maximum of six people sat with each other and everyone in the group is from the same support bubble or household if sat inside.
And Westminster Council has announced the new rules allowing groups to eat al fresco in groups of up to six in mixed households from tomorrow will be continued for a further six months.
Council leader Rachael Robathan, said the scheme, which allows venues to provide ‘pop up’ dining areas in streets, would be an important way of supporting the hospitality industry.
She said: ‘We have 3,700 restaurants, pubs and bars in central London and they help to support around 80,000 jobs.
‘Hospitality is a big employer for us and while the sector faces another tough few months under tier two restrictions, at least we can support those venues who can offer outside space.’
At the same time, Westminster City Council has launched a ‘shop safe’ campaign, which emphasises measures the authority has taken to make the streets as safe as possible.
These include widening pavements, installing 7 miles (11km) of cycle lanes, social distance signage and hand sanitiser stations across the City.
A social media campaign being launched by Westminster City Council on Wednesday will underline the safety messages.
He said: ‘We’ve set out very clearly the principles in law at what is and isn’t expected. If you break that law – it’s set out clearly.’
He added: ‘It is for the courts to interpret on each individual case. Absolutely we will enforce against these laws.’
He continued: ‘The courts interpret the law that has been set by parliament for this country.
‘If people break that law, then it’s for the courts, based on the individual circumstances, to determine that.
‘I don’t think it’s acceptable to try to push the boundaries of these rules and it’s a matter for the courts to interpret the law.’
Meanwhile the debate today rages on around scotch-egg gate – the row over whether a scotch egg can be a substantial meal or not.
Mr Hancock appeared to put to bed confusion over the egg and meat treat after ministers blurred lines by repeatedly changing course yesterday.
Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove gave three different lines in three different interviews yesterday morning when quizzed about scotch eggs, which have become a unusual but key talking-point in the government’s new Covid-19 tier system.
On Scotch eggs, Mr Hancock told Sky News: ‘A substantial meal is a well-established concept in hospitality.
‘Of course, a Scotch egg that is served as a substantial meal – that is a substantial meal.
‘What we need to do is not try to push the boundaries, we all need to take responsibility for our own actions.’
He added: ‘The rules are the two different types of hospitality – those that obviously serve meals and those that don’t.
‘So, a starter can be a substantial meal, you can have a Scotch egg as a starter.’
He said he wanted to move away from ‘picking at the boundaries’.
It comes as yesterday a row deepened over whether a scotch egg can be classed as a ‘substantial meal’ under rules only allowing alcohol to be served with food from today.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told LBC two scotch eggs would be ‘a starter’, 24 hours after Environment Secretary George Eustice said one is a substantial meal.
Mr Gove reiterated his stance on LBC in a second interview on Good Morning Britain yesterday – before backtracking and then telling ITV News: ‘A scotch egg is a substantial meal.’
A row has broken out over whether a scotch egg can be classed as a ‘substantial meal’
The Kings Head in Gosfield, Essex , is offering £1.99 plates on a ‘Boris Menu’ such as a hotdog and chips; baked beans on toast with cheese; and cheeseburger and chips
London and Liverpool will be put into Tier 2, while only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are in the bottom tier
Fury at government’s ‘token’ one-off £1,000 payment for ‘wet’ boozers
Pub landlords have warned that the tier system will force traditional old fashioned pubs out of business after the government’s proposed support package was met with derision.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that all ‘wet’ pubs that do not serve food would be given a one-off grant of £1,000.
He said the payout was to recognise ‘how hard they have been hit by this virus in what is typically their busiest month’.
But one pub landlord accused the Prime Minister of using the ‘token gesture’ as a means to appease Tory rebels criticising the tier system.
The chair of the Campaign for Pubs, Paul Crossman, who runs The Swan, The Slip Inn and Volunteer Arms pubs in York, said the meagre £1,000 grant has ‘offended’ pub owners.
He also warned it spells the end for many old fashioned pubs that do not serve food.
‘A lot of publicans are saying they are really offended by this amount,’ he said.
‘It might sound a lot to someone in the street but the revenues that pubs have to take to stay afloat, £1000 is nothing. It won’t save any pub, put it that way.
‘The support package on offer still falls well short of covering basic costs for the vast majority of pubs, let alone compensating them for any of the trade that is being denied them over the vital festive period.
Mr Crossman added: ‘This one-off payment is a token gesture to appease his rebel MPs. This statement today is pure politicking from Boris Johnson.
‘It is not enough to make a tangible difference.
‘It just reinforces the impression that the government simply have no idea what this is costing pubs in lost trade.
‘The support package this time round is not enough to even cover the costs for most pubs. Let alone compensate them for any lost trade.
‘I have three wet led community pubs here in York. We don’t do any food. We’ll be staying closed and we fall into the rates bracket where we’re entitles to £2000 every 28 days, which is a joke, because our rent is £1000 per week.
‘It’s property costs that are scaring people. The arrears are mounting all the time.
‘Some people have tens of thousands of pounds in debt now. People are not going to be clapping for £1000. It’s a drop in the ocean and pretty meaningless actually.’
The confusion came after the Government said people going into Tier 2 from today will have to have a ‘substantial meal’ to allow them to buy a pint.
The law says a substantial meal is ‘might be expected to be served as breakfast, the main midday or main evening meal, or as a main course at such a meal’.
Some pubs have now brought out new menus, with one offering a ‘Boris Menu’ of £1.99 meals – while Wetherspoon has launched a new breakfast muffin range.
Landlords accused the Government of providing ‘no clarity’ on the substantial meal rule.
One Essex pub has launched a new £1.99 simplified food menu so that customers can enjoy alcoholic drinks, but do not have to spend lots of money or have a large meal.
Named ‘The Boris Menu’, The Kings Head in Gosfield is offering plates such as a hotdog and chips; baked beans on toast with cheese; and cheeseburger and chips.
Pub owner Matthew Arnold, 38, told Essex Live: ‘Every time a new regulation is implemented it incurs a lot of time and cost for pubs to abide.
‘It’s the frustration that prompted the menu idea initially at the same time as catering for customers that don’t necessarily want a large and costly meal each time they want to visit us.’
Meanwhile the Wetherspoon pub chain has launched a new breakfast menu ahead of tomorrow’s reopening, include a muffin range and reducing the price of coffee and tea to 99p.
Customers can choose from four new breakfast muffins – egg and bacon; egg and sausage; breakfast (with bacon and sausage); and egg and cheese.
Other pubs have resorted to writing long lists of rules on their website to help keep customers safe.
Tailors, in Cambray Place, Cheltenham, has put a list of 17 things customers should know before they enter the watering hole.
The list includes a recommendation to book a table in advance, rules about seating and a warning that customers who are sitting outside will not be given refunds for unfinished meals and drinks if the weather turns bad.
Other pubs in Tier 2 have said they will not be opening at all, despite being allowed to.
The Royal Standard near Weymouth will stay closed according to a post on its Facebook page.
It said: ‘Well after the announcement, we have taken the heart breaking decision to unfortunately remain closed until the next review on Friday 16th December.
‘We had planned to restart our food but the limitations of the guidelines have forced us to make this decision. On behalf of the whole team here we thank you for your continued support and hope to see you all again very soon.
‘Stay safe gang and we’ll be back bigger and better.’
Another pub, also named the Royal Standard, this time in Yeovil, is also remaining closed.
In a post on its Facebook page, it said: ‘Following on from the announcements of the new Tiers being brought into place.
‘It is with a heavy heart that we will not be reopening on the 3rd December as planned.
‘As soon as we go back into Tier one we will be opening our doors to all of our lovely customers once again!’
Meanwhile punters have been enjoying the return of pubs. Intensive care nurses Juan Garcia, 27, and Francisco Sanchez, 28, had come straight to the pub from a nightshift at a nearby hospital.
The pair, originally from Spain, were tucking into breakfast muffins alongside a pint of orange juice.
‘We’ve just finished working a night-shift so we came straight here for breakfast, which feels nice,’ said Mr Garcia.
Mr Sanchez added: ‘It’s a bit of a tradition actually. It’s good to be back
‘But I’m not getting a beer because if I did I think I’d pass out after all that time working.’
Intensive care nurses Juan Garcia, 27, and Francisco Sanchez, 28, had come straight to the pub from a nightshift at a nearby hospital
General manager Jon Newton serves a beer to the first customer of the day at Five degree West in Falmouth, Cornwall
Pub-goers enjoy a breakfast at a Wetherspoon pub in London today after the new Tier 2 rules were introduced
Pub-goers enjoy a breakfast at the Cheltenham-based pub the Bank House in Gloucestershire
Mr Garcia said he did not understand the point of forcing people to have a meal with their drink.
‘I don’t know what the point of that is. If you want more drinks you can just go from pub to pub,’ he said.
‘It’s not going to work – like many of the things that they’ve been doing.’
Damian Brady, 66, was enjoying a drink at the Asparagus with his fellow regulars Steve Baker, 65, and their friend Sidney.
Mr Brady ordered a Kronenbourg with his Full English breakfast, but was frustrated with the Government’s new rules.
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He told MailOnline: ‘This breakfast will be the slowest breakfast in history, I’ll still be here at 4pm. One bean, two beans…
‘The Government has got no idea – the rules are absolutely childish. There’s no set pattern whatsoever.’
Mr Brady tried to order a second pint when the waitress delivered his breakfast but was told by his friends this was against the rules.
‘I tried it and I failed,’ he joked. ‘The rules remind me of a jigsaw – it’s nearly that complicated.
‘At the same time it’s great to come to come to the pub and speak to people.
‘Although I was happy at home – four tins of Stella, £5.50, and four cans of Guinness, £5 – I was in my element.’
At the Oyster Rooms in Fulham Broadway, just a stone’s throw away from Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium in south-west London, regulars were sipping on their first draught after a month away.
Sarah Mowatt, 26, was nursing a San Miguel after heading straight to the pub after hearing they had reopened.
‘Halleluiah, it’s a miracle,’ she told MailOnline.
‘It’s been a long month – this lockdown has felt much longer I think. It seems like they just took away everything fun while still letting you do other things.
‘This morning when I woke up and realised the pubs were open I thought, why not, I’ll just go for one, maybe two. I’m very happy and feel a lot better today than I have done for the last month.’
Ms Mowatt, who works in events, was perusing the menu for something to eat.
She was relaxed about the rules, adding: ‘At first I was thinking I would have to order six roast dinners to have a drink.
‘But now I know you can order something like a scotch egg – so it’s fine by mean, they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do.’
Sean Thomas, a regular in his 50s, was delighted to be back with his friends at the Oyster Rooms
Sean Thomas, a regular in his 50s, was delighted to be back with his friends at the Oyster Rooms.
‘The pub is like a cathedral, we all know each other, so when one of the congregation goes missing you notice it. It keeps everybody safe.
‘There’s usually seven or eight of us here who are all mates.’
His friend, a former RAF serviceman who asked not to be named, was scathing about the requirement to order food.
‘I’ve just had breakfast now I’ve got to order something to eat. It’s not right, the Government hasn’t got a clue. It’s a hassle.’
He said he was planning to have three pints before heading home.
Robert Hopkinson 58, who had ordered a John Smiths, said he had reduced his drinking over lockdown.
‘Over the whole lockdown I had about eight cans of lager,’ he said. ‘I’m happy to be back because you can chat with your mates.’
Asked about the rules, he said: ‘It’s not a major problem, but I normally come in and have two or three pints before going away. But now you’ve got to wait for a meal to be cooked. I’m going to have a large breakfast.’
‘Off for a cooked breakfast and a pint!’: Tier Two drinkers rejoice as lockdown ends while those in Tier Three are left pining for the pub – as landlords get set for busy day serving ‘substantial meals’
England’s second national lockdown came to an end overnight, sparking a wave of excitement across social media as people prepare to return to the pubs – and landlords get set for a busy day serving ‘substantial meals’.
Social media users this morning rejoiced the ending of the month-long shutdown, which ended overnight.
The lockdown rules will be replaced by a new tiered system from today. The rules mean pubs in Tier 2 areas, including London and large parts of the south-east, can reopen.
Hours after the lockdown was lifted, social media users in Tier 2 were quick to show their readiness to return to the pubs.
But those in Tier 3, where pubs and restuarants can only open for takeaway, were left pining for a pint.
One Twitter user, Neil Hughes, said: ‘I’m off for a cooked breakfast and a pint.’
Nay Evans, said: ‘End of lockdown, we made it. See use (sic) in the pub for 5 Guinness and a Cesar salad.’
Another said: ‘Lockdown is over, you can catch me at the pub with my friends tonight, unless you are in Tier 2 or 3.’
Another user of Twitter said: ‘Me getting ready to go to the pub tomorrow.’
Jo Mac, a Twitter user, said: ‘And we are out of lockdown! Wohoooo!!! Who wants to come to the pub with me for a pint and a substantial meal?’
Another said: ‘Woohoo! Lockdown has ended. We are free to have a beer down the pub.
‘With a scotch egg of course. Do we have to sit at a table and use a knife and fork to eat it, or can we stand at the bar?’
Another said: ‘Lockdown is over, you can catch me at the pub with my friends tonight, unless you are in Tier 2 or 3.’
But while people in Tier 2 were left excited for a trip to the pub, those in Tier 3 were left pining for a pint.
One said: ‘Back in Tier 3, well done everyone! – Now let’s get Tier 2 so I can go to the pub!’
Another said: ‘Oh great, after four weeks I can go to non-essential shops again. But not to the pub or anything enjoyable.
‘Tier 1 before lockdown, Tier 3 today, utter madness.’