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Trade slams new lockdown ban on takeaway drink sales

Published:  02 November, 2020

In a new blow for England’s on-trade, the government has banned the sale of takeaway alcohol for the duration of the second national lockdown, which begins at midnight on Wednesday 4 November.

During the first national lockdown introduced on 23 March, businesses which had an appropriate license were permitted to sell alcohol in takeaway cartons.

That liberty, a lifeline for many venues, has now been withdrawn. Pubs and restaurants are still allowed to sell food for takeaway and delivery, however.

James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, tweeted that the new rules represented a “significant and unjustified extension” on the first lockdown.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “We cannot see the logic of letting supermarkets and shops sell alcohol but not pubs.

“You will be able to get a four pack of beer from a Tesco Express but not from a pub.

“This could last longer than four weeks, and as we face the bleakest of winters we need a six-month support package to save the great British pubs and brewers.”

The second national lockdown could lead to the loss of 12,000 pubs and nearly 300,000 jobs, McClarkin said.

The additional unexpected restriction on the on-trade will also have considerable knock-on effect on suppliers.

Calder has already warned that pub closures will have a “devastating” impact on small breweries.

It is reported that the issue is due to be discussed by Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for health, and Alok Sharma, the secretary of state for business.