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Government clarifies ‘lockdown’ on and off-trade measures

Published:  24 March, 2020

The government has clarified the measures required to be taken by both the on and off-trade following the announcement last night of a three-week nationwide UK ‘lockdown’.

As per guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, while restaurants have to remain closed, food delivery and takeaway services can remain operational.

Bars and nightclubs, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs must remain completely closed for business.

In the issued guidance, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational”, but stressed that venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their license does not already permit.

“This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers. Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect.

“People must not consumer food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafes or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.”

However, key restaurant group Azzurri, owner of major brands including Ask, Wagamama and Zizzi, late last night announced it had decided to close its takeaway and delivery services with immediate effect

The group said: “Following the latest government guidance on social distancing and staying home wherever possible, we believe it’s in the best interests of our amazing teams to suspend our takeaway and delivery services for the time being.

“We will be ensuring that our ingredients go to food banks and to others who would benefit from them the most.”

In the off-trade, supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, bicycle shops, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, and banks are exempt from the enforced retail closure.

As per the Prime Minister’s daily briefing last night, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed the government is asking the businesses and premises and other venues outlined above not to open for trade from close of trade 23 March 2020.

The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.