• Sat. Mar 6th, 2021

Pub beer gardens to open from April and Scotch egg law won’t return


Feb 22, 2021

Outdoor drinking in pubs looks set to become a normal sight again this summer (Picture: Getty)

Pub beer gardens could reopen in England from April 12 at the earliest, the Prime Minister has confirmed.

Outdoor seating only will be allowed for hospitality venues, as the country emerges from its third national lockdown. It means drinking in beer gardens should be a normal sight this summer.

Boris Johnson outlined the plan this afternoon, saying that ‘we will begin to reopen our pubs and restaurants outdoors and there will be no curfew. The scotch egg debate will be over, as there will be no requirement for alcohol to be served with a substantial meal’.

The rule of six or a maximum of two households will apply, and customers will need to be seated when ordering food or drink.

The road map out of Covid restrictions will begin with the return of schools on March 8, and continue to relax in April as long as the infection rates continue to be under control.

It comes as desperate pub owners pleaded with the Government for more support to avoid them shutting down for good, and follows long-standing calls for clarity to help them plan.

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues have been battered throughout the pandemic, with various different rules in place as Covid-19 cases rose and fell.

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Previous restrictions on drinking in pubs had confused punters, from the rule of six to up to 30 people being allowed to gather together (Picture: Getty Images)
Drinkers in Glasgow enjoy their first pint in a beer garden last July (Picture: Getty Images)

During England’s three lockdowns, pubs were forced to close but there was some allowance for ‘takeaway pints’ and other measures, including furlough for workers.

Rules were different across the various nations of the UK during the crisis, while in England alone, punters previously had to navigate changing restrictions ranging from the ‘rule of 6’ to being allowed to gather in groups of up to 30.

There was also an unpopular 10pm curfew and a rule that forced drinkers to have a ‘substantial meal’ to buy alcohol – which led to a bizarre debate about whether scotch eggs counted as ‘substantial’.

Speculation had been rife about when punters could begin to return to pubs following this latest lockdown, with reports suggesting it could be anywhere from the Easter weekend, on April 4, to May.

Mr Johnson’s move will give some hope to publicans that business can start to return to normal in the coming months, but many fear it will now be ‘survival of the fittest’.

Three owners crippled by months of restrictions today told Metro.co.uk about facing huge debts and fears that it will take a ‘long, long time to return to normal’.

This is a breaking story – more to follow.

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