You CAN finish your drink once you’ve eaten your meal, says Environment Secretary

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A scotch egg will count as a ‘substantial meal’ and a much-criticised diktat forcing drinkers to leave pubs or restaurants as soon as they have eaten their meal will be scrapped, a minister revealed today.

Environment Secretary George Eustice has said the popular egg and sausagemeat snack will allow people to visit the pub in Tier 2 with friends or family for an alcoholic drink.

Previously his cabinet colleague Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick claimed a snack like a pasty on its own doesn’t count as a ‘substantial meal’ unless it is served with chips and salad. 

Mr Eustice said: “I think a Scotch egg would probably count as a substantial meal if there were table service. This is a term that’s understood in licensing’. 

The Environment Secretary also said today that customers will not have to go home after finishing the final mouthful of their food but warned: ‘You can’t sit at a table all night ordering drink’.

On Friday Tier 2 diners in England were told by No 10 that they cannot linger at all after their food is finished – and would be expected to go home even when they have more left to drink after the national lockdown ends on December 2.

Just over 700 pubs in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly will be able to open to everyone from Wednesday – with the remaining 37,500 in England forced to serve alcohol if bought with a ‘substantial meal’ in Tier 2 or offer takeway or close completely in Tier 3. Thousands of jobs are set to go.  

Drinkers enjoy a pint in Borough Market on Friday as it emerged drinkers in Tier 2 will have to leave the pub as soon as you finish your meal. Downing Street has now performed a U-turn

The U-turn came as it was revealed the Government is also planning extra cash or bars and restaurants hit by upper-tier closures. A source told The Daily Telegraph: ‘There are already grants of £2,000 and £3,000 for businesses in Tiers 2 and 3 but we recognise we need to do more.’   

The rules has left many pubs weighing up whether it was even commercially viable to trade. Mr Johnson’s tiers plan has enraged the hospitality trade who already believe pubs, bars and eateries are being unfairly blamed for the spread of coronavirus. Just 5 per cent of Covid-19 cases have been transmitted in the hospitality industry in the UK. 

Fancy a pint? You’ll have to buy a meal (not just crisps)… unless it’s a scotch egg

Pubs can remain open in areas under the most stringent rules – but only if they serve customers meals with their drinks.

Those that just sell alcohol must close under ‘tier three’, the toughest new measures.

Diners will be required to eat ‘substantial meals’ rather than crisps, nuts or other bar snacks.

Social mixing will be banned both indoors and in private gardens, so people cannot go out with anyone outside their household.

Both the police and the council will be responsible for enforcing the ‘substantial meal’ rules.

Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield, said: ‘It’s not entirely clear if you had a sausage roll with a bowl of chips, would that be substantial? I’m not clear on that.’ 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick suggested that only a pasty that came with a side and was served to a table in a pub could be considered as ‘a normal meal’. 

But today Environment Secretary George Eustice said a scotch egg would count. 

Tory MP Nigel Evans said today: ‘We really need the data to demonstrate that it really is the hospitality trade that’s the devil here’.

Landlords will still be expected to ask their customers to leave – or face hefty fines for breaching the Government‘s strict coronavirus legislation – with critics accusing the PM of treating the public ‘like children’.

One critic tweeted: ‘How the f*** can having an extra glass of wine after your meal at the same table increase your chances of getting coronavirus?’. 

Pubs are launching so-called ‘Boris menus’ of cheap tapas-style plates of food that drinkers can be order through the day so they can enjoy a drink with family or friends after December 2.  

A substantial meal is defined by the Government as a “full breakfast, main lunchtime or evening meal” – with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick claiming a pasty on its own doesn’t count, but when served with chips and salad it does.

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has branded Boris Johnson’s contentious tier system ‘lockdown by stealth’ as landlords said the policy amounts to ‘business torture’.

A spokesman for Mitchells & Butlers, which runs All Bar One, blasted the decision as ‘a kick in the teeth’.  

Social media users were quick to join a pile on against the new restrictions. 

Lianne Fallon wrote: ‘This would be funny if it wasn’t so absolutely ludicrous. Why have we allowed a govt to think they can dictate to us the minutiae of our everyday lives? This is a terrifying path we are being led down.’

Coral Musgrave said: ‘Waiter: can I clear the table? Diner: not yet, there’s still some food on my plate (one pea) so I have not finished eating yet, but you could get me another pint please. Note: please leave the staff a good tip because most of them have not had any wages for weeks.’

Matt Dean added: ‘They haven’t learned that if you make the rules too ridiculous and indefensible people stop following the sensible ones.’

Fiona Magee said she worked in a pub and could not see how the rules were enforcable.

She wrote: ‘I work in a pub. This is virtually impossible to enforce. Just bonkers. And why, if this rule is introduced, suddenly extend opening by one hour from 10pm to 11pm – most pub kitchens close way earlier than last orders – if you don’t want people drinking without also eating??’ 

The Prime Minister has imposed brutal Tier 2 and 3 rules on 99 per cent of the country with the restrictions expected to last until mid-January at the earliest.  

Mr Martin, the founder and chairman of the chain, said 366 of its pubs will remain closed in light of new tiered measures – sending its shares diving. While analysis by real estate specialists Altus Group has said that 16,010 pubs will remain closed in Tier 3 areas. 

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin today branded Boris Johnson's contentious tier system 'lockdown by stealth'

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin today branded Boris Johnson's contentious tier system 'lockdown by stealth'

Manchester bar owner Martin Greenhow has said that businesses like his in Tier 3 are better off 'sitting on our hands' and claiming furlough

Manchester bar owner Martin Greenhow has said that businesses like his in Tier 3 are better off 'sitting on our hands' and claiming furlough

Manchester bar owner Martin Greenhow has said that businesses like his in Tier 3 are better off ‘sitting on our hands’ and claiming furlough

A closed pub in Manchester. The city is in tier three so no hospitality venues will be allowed to open

A closed pub in Manchester. The city is in tier three so no hospitality venues will be allowed to open

A closed pub in Manchester. The city is in tier three so no hospitality venues will be allowed to open 

Mr Martin said: ‘These rules greatly reduced pub capacity and provided strict social distancing and hygiene standards but, with difficulty, allowed pubs to trade viably.

‘It is very disappointing that yet another raft of regulations has been introduced which has effectively closed half our pubs. In reality, the government has extended a form of lockdown, by stealth, in large swathes of the country.’

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Mitchells & Butlers  said the decision to only allow alcohol with ‘substantial meals’ would be ‘incredibly damaging’ to the sector.

They added: ‘The government seems intent on singling out hospitality for punitive measures and we urge the government to acknowledge the harm these restrictions will cause. 

‘The more industries such as ours continue to be singled out, and are hit hardest by restrictions, it’s vital that the Government provide targeted sector support to protect business and jobs through the winter.’

Manchester bar owner Martin Greenhow has said that businesses like his in Tier 3 are better off ‘sitting on our hands’ and claiming furlough while the British Beer and Pub Association has warned that two thirds of all pubs in Tier 2 areas are not viable with 4,600 jobs already gone this year.    

Social media users were quick to join a pile on against the new restrictions as one joked they would order soup and eat it with a fork

Social media users were quick to join a pile on against the new restrictions as one joked they would order soup and eat it with a fork

Social media users were quick to join a pile on against the new restrictions as one joked they would order soup and eat it with a fork

Mr Greenhow told the BBC: ‘Every tier is a mortal blow to hospitality. Tier 2 is the old Tier 3 remember and it simply doesn’t work. We’ve tried.

‘We are better sitting on our hands taking benefits, furlough and what meagre grants are available from the Government.

1,700 jobs are lost as hospitality firms learn they will not be allowed to reopen on December 2 

Two of Britain’s biggest pub groups announced 1,700 job cuts as tens of thousands of businesses were told they will not reopen on December 2.

Toby Carvery owner, Mitchells & Butlers, and Fuller, Smith & Turner swung the axe in a new blow to the hospitality industry.

The job losses came as Boris Johnson said 99 per cent of England – or 55m people – would be in the two toughest levels of Covid measures when the lockdown ends next week.

Mitchells & Butlers, which owns 1,700 pubs and restaurants, said it had been forced to make 1,300 job cuts because of the pandemic.

The group fell to a £123million loss for the year to September 26, from pre-tax profits of £177million in 2019.

Revenues plunged 34 per cent to £1.5billion, and are down 50.8 per cent since the end of September due to the second lockdown.

Fuller’s, which has 400 pubs mostly in the south-east, revealed it has shed 1,000 staff, including 400 redundancies, this year. 

It fell to a £22.2million loss in the six months to September 26 after sales fell 78 per cent to £45.6million due to the first lockdown. 

The sector has already lost 4,600 jobs at Young’s, Marston’s, Greene King and Wetherspoons, and almost all businesses will go into Tiers Two and Three from December 2.

‘The tiers are waterboarding for our industry – we’re allowed out for a brief gasp of fiscal oxygen and we’re slammed back down. This is, pure and simple, business torture’.

But pubs and restaurants with outside space that can reopen next week are said to be enjoying a flood of bookings as friends rush to get back together for some al fresco dining and drinking when lockdown ends of December 2. 

Demand has been so high in London that many venues are fully booked. However, the British Beer and Pub Association has warned that two thirds of pubs in Tier 2 areas are not viable because they cannot serve food or host people outdoors.

The hospitality industry believes they are being unfairly punished because only around five  per cent of coronavirus infections have come from them.

Venues in Tier 3 regions such as Manchester and Newcastle can only open for takeaways, which was branded a ‘hammer blow’ for the beleaguered sector.

But Mr Johnson has said that the draconian restrictions on household mixing, which threaten to cripple pubs, clubs and restaurants, were the price that had to be paid to keep schools open this winter 

It came as the boss of Fortnum & Mason, Ewan Venters, predicted that a third of all British high street retailers could go to the wall by the spring. 

Mr Johnson imposed brutal Tier 2 and 3 rules on 99 per cent of England on Thursday, the higher category bans all hospitality business, while the other permits pubs to stay open only if they serve food and household can only mix outside with a substantial meal. 

All desperate restaurants and bars in Tier 3 can now rely on is through takeaway orders. 

James Thomas, a hotelier in Ramsgate, Kent, which is also in Tier 3, said: ‘Christmas is of vital importance to the hospitality industry because it comes before the dreaded January.

‘You can’t control the wind but you can set your sails. At the moment we have very little sail to set because we’re not allowed to get the boat out of the harbour’. 

Drinkers in Soho in July. Similar scenes - with warmer clothes - should be possible in London, which is in Tier 2

Drinkers in Soho in July. Similar scenes - with warmer clothes - should be possible in London, which is in Tier 2

Drinkers in Soho in July. Similar scenes – with warmer clothes – should be possible in London, which is in Tier 2 

Cheap as chips! Tier 2 pub landlord to start selling ‘substantial’ scampi and fries for just £3 in desperate bid to get drinkers back 

A London pub landlord will start selling scampi and chips for just £3 next week when he is forced to sell a ‘substantial meal’ to every drinker under Tier 2 restrictions.

Gary Murphy, of the Ye Old Mitre in High Barnet, said it would be impossible to grill his regular £10 dishes for each punter and so will deep fry everything at cut-price.

Gary Murphy, of the Ye Old Mitre in High Barnet, said he will be offering deep-fried food at cut price

Gary Murphy, of the Ye Old Mitre in High Barnet, said he will be offering deep-fried food at cut price

Gary Murphy, of the Ye Old Mitre in High Barnet, said he will be offering deep-fried food at cut price 

Mr Murphy, who makes 97 per cent of his profits from drinks, has overhauled his menu so his regular punters are not deterred from stopping by for a drink.

Customers will be able to buy either scampi, chicken or a burger and chips for just £3, he told MailOnline.

Usually the pub sells 8oz burgers with ‘all the trimmings’ for £10 which takes 20 minutes on the grill.

But Mr Murphy said doing that for every customer in his tiny kitchen would be impossible and so is replacing it with a deep fried burger with no bun. 

He said: ‘I think the meal requirement is nonsense but I’m opening out of desperation. I may not make a profit but hopefully I won’t carry on making a loss.’  

More than 50 pubs and breweries including Greene King, Heineken and Budweiser pleaded with the Government to extend support to avoid thousands of local venues going bust.

In a letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak they said: ‘It would be nothing less than heart-breaking if, having survived through the last nine months, pubs now face ruin with the end of the pandemic in sight.

‘The support the Government has given us up to this point would all be for nothing, a colossal waste of resources. The looming disaster is avoidable, but only if you act now.’

Mitchells & Butlers, which owns 1,700 pubs and restaurants, said it had been forced to make 1,300 job cuts because of the pandemic.

The group fell to a £123million loss for the year to September 26, from pre-tax profits of £177million in 2019.

Revenues plunged 34 per cent to £1.5billion, and are down 50.8 per cent since the end of September due to the second lockdown.

Fuller’s, which has 400 pubs mostly in the south-east, revealed it has shed 1,000 staff, including 400 redundancies, this year. 

It fell to a £22.2million loss in the six months to September 26 after sales fell 78 per cent to £45.6million due to the first lockdown. 

The sector has already lost 4,600 jobs at Young’s, Marston’s, Greene King and Wetherspoons, and almost all businesses will go into Tiers Two and Three from December 2.

Over 38,000 pubs, restaurants, bars and hotels in England will shut in Tier Three, apart from for takeaways, affecting 38,000 workers. 

Around 120,000 venues, employing 1.5m people, will be put into Tier Two, with bosses warning that three-quarters of Tier Two hospitality businesses will make a loss because household mixing is banned and they can only serve alcohol with a ‘substantial meal’. 

The bosses of four northern pub groups, including Robinsons and Thwaites, said: ‘Livelihoods, employment and communities will be destroyed by the Government’s shameful targeting of pubs. Boris Johnson is wilfully dealing out certain economic ruin to our pubs and the North.’

Fuller’s boss Simon Emeny, who said that three-quarters of his pubs will be shut in Tier Two, said: ‘This is a savage blow to the sector. We can go to gyms and have our hair cut in all tiers, but pubs are being singled out for their own tier system.’

Mitchells & Butlers chief executive Phil Urban said: ‘I feel incredibly let down. It is bizarre and without foundation – nobody has been able to give an ounce of evidence. It is galling.’

After weeks of uncertainty, hospitality bosses discovered their fate for when the national lockdown ends on December 2

After weeks of uncertainty, hospitality bosses discovered their fate for when the national lockdown ends on December 2

After weeks of uncertainty, hospitality bosses discovered their fate for when the national lockdown ends on December 2

London and Liverpool will be put into Tier 2, while only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are in the bottom tier

London and Liverpool will be put into Tier 2, while only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are in the bottom tier

London and Liverpool will be put into Tier 2, while only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are in the bottom tier

Toby Carvery owner Mitchells & Butlers announced it had been forced to make 1,300 job cuts because of the pandemic. Meanwhile Fuller’s revealed it has shed 1,000 staff

Toby Carvery owner Mitchells & Butlers announced it had been forced to make 1,300 job cuts because of the pandemic. Meanwhile Fuller’s revealed it has shed 1,000 staff

Toby Carvery owner Mitchells & Butlers announced it had been forced to make 1,300 job cuts because of the pandemic. Meanwhile Fuller’s revealed it has shed 1,000 staff

Firms supplying pubs have also been hit. Britvic, which owns J2O and Pepsi, reported an 8.6 per cent fall in sales in the year to September 30.

Fuller's boss Simon Emeny said that three-quarters of his 400 pubs will be shut in Tier Two

Fuller's boss Simon Emeny said that three-quarters of his 400 pubs will be shut in Tier Two

Fuller’s boss Simon Emeny said that three-quarters of his 400 pubs will be shut in Tier Two

It salvaged a 0.8 per cent rise in profits to £111.2million thanks in part to families in lockdown drinking at home.

A Government spokesperson said: ‘The length of exposure is one of the main factors in the spread of the virus which is why alcohol may only be served as part of a main table meal, and cannot be served once the meal is finished.

‘There is no prescribed limit for how long a meal is expected to take, however we expect people to act reasonably and exercise good judgement.’

One of Britain’s top restaurateurs has savaged the government‘s severe new tier system as a death sentence for the hospitality sector.

Richard Caring, who owns chains including The Ivy and Bill’s, believes that more than two thirds of his industry has been so mauled by lockdowns that it will never recover.

Mr Caring told MailOnline: ‘This government bounces off one wall onto another, its inexperience and inefficiencies are shown clearly in the manner they have handled this awful pandemic so far. 

‘It has turned both its inexperience and inefficiency against the hospitality industry of this country.

‘Already what was the second largest industry in this country has been permanently decimated by at least 35%, never to return.’  

Richard Caring, owner of restaurant chains including The Ivy and Bill's, has torn the government to pieces over its 'inexperience and inefficiency' in dealing with Covid

Richard Caring, owner of restaurant chains including The Ivy and Bill's, has torn the government to pieces over its 'inexperience and inefficiency' in dealing with Covid

Richard Caring, owner of restaurant chains including The Ivy and Bill’s, has torn the government to pieces over its ‘inexperience and inefficiency’ in dealing with Covid

A shuttered restaurant on the Strand in central London during the second national lockdown earlier this month

A shuttered restaurant on the Strand in central London during the second national lockdown earlier this month

A shuttered restaurant on the Strand in central London during the second national lockdown earlier this month

Boris Johnson imposed brutal Tier 2 and 3 rules on 99% of England on Thursday, the higher category bans all hospitality business, while the other permits pubs to stay open only if they serve food.  

Mr Caring singled out as particularly vulnerable the cities of Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol ‘where the hospitality industry, hanging on by its finger nails, was hoping to be able to make some income in their most busy weeks of the year.’

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