This year is one of repetition. First we were kept in, then urged out (to help out), then in again, now out again. With the Government seemingly lifting policy from the Hokey Cokey, it’s no surprise everyone’s a little bewildered.
Still, the good news is that restaurants, pubs and bars are back – albeit with one arm tied behind their back. London is living under Tier 2 restrictions, meaning most places can reopen, although “wet led” pubs have been forced to remain closed.
The good news for those businesses now back is that the 10pm curfew has been lifted; instead, restaurants will have to take last orders at 10pm and ensure all customers are off the premises by 11pm.
Much has been made of the rule around serving alcohol in Tier 2; Government guidance states that beer, wine and spirits can only be served alongside “substantial meals”. While on social media there have been winking suggestions around what constitutes a substantial meal – hopes that a traditional boozer could perhaps get away a pack of scampi fries and a soggy sandwich (or, yes, a scotch egg) –the official guidance is actually much stricter than this: pubs and bars must remain closed unless they operate as a restaurant. That said, this needn’t mean a kitchen is a must; Westminster council has advised that pubs can rely on the menus and delivery services of other businesses nearby.
Speaking of businesses; the business lunch is also back.
The restrictions do not signal a return to catching up over a few courses, though: household mixing indoors is banned, unless it is within a support bubble. However, Downing Street has confirmed that single households of any size may dine indoors together.
Regardless, restaurants are able to operate in some capacity. Below are the full list of restrictions for going out while London remains tied to Tier 2:
Household mixing is banned in any indoor setting, whether at home or in public (excluding support bubbles)
The rule of six applies outdoors, meaning people cannot socialise in a group of six or more
Restaurants may reopen; pubs and bars must close unless they are operating as restaurants
Alcohol can only be served alongside a substantial meal
Drinking must conclude once the meal is finished
Business lunches are allowed
Nightclubs must remain closed
Venues serving alcohol can only provide table service
Dine-in venues must stop taking orders at 10pm; they must then close at 11pm and cannot reopen until 5am. Businesses in airports, ports are exempt, as our motorway services
Takeaway and delivery services are allowed
Takeaway, delivery and drive-thru services for food and drink can continue after 10pm
Previous Covid-secure rules still apply, including social distancing