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Mixed news for hospitality in new English tier system

Published:  23 November, 2020

The 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants is to be lifted when England comes out of lockdown on 2 December, the prime minister is expected to announce today.

However, in mixed news for the hospitality sector, the nation will then go into a revised three-tier system, with tougher restrictions than previously for the on-trade in all but the highest tier.

The new system, which has been heavily trailed in the media over the weekend, will differ in the following ways for pubs and restaurants.

Under the new Tier 1, all pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, including wet-only establishments with no food offer. Only table service will be allowed.

Under Tier 2, pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen, but only if they serve substantial meals. Customers will be restricted to household groups and only table service will be allowed. This represents a setback for the hospitality sector, as under the previous Tier 2, wet-only pubs were still able to trade.

For businesses in both Tier 1 and Tier 2, the curfew will be extended until 11pm, with last orders at 10pm. Previously, customers had to leave the premises by that time.

Under the new Tier 3, pubs and restaurants will only be able to trade as takeway services. Again, this represents a major tightening of trading conditions as previously businesses in Tier 3 could be fully operational as long as they served substantial meals.

The Cabinet reportedly met yesterday to agree on the plans.

Boris Johnson is expected to announce the new measures to the House of the Commons at 3.30pm, followed by a press briefing at 5pm.

The House of Commons will vote on the government's proposal in the next few days.

The announcement of which areas will fall under the different tiers when lockdown expires, is expected to be made on Thursday 26 November.