Foodservice sites in England will still be subject to Covid restrictions following the latest national lockdown’s conclusion on 2 December.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday that a tighter regional tiered system will return in England from 3 December onwards.
Detailing the government’s Covid Winter Plan to the House of Commons remotely from self-isolation, Johnson revealed that hospitality businesses in areas most affected by coronavirus will not be allowed to reopen for dine-in service.
Unlike previous arrangements, tiers will be a uniform set of rules without any regional negotiations.
In Tier 3, indoor entertainment, hotels and all forms of hospitality will close except for delivery and takeaways.
Johnson said: “I am very sorry, obviously, for the unavoidable hardship that this will cause for business owners who have already endured so much disruption this year.”
Pubs and restaurants in Tier 2 areas, meanwhile, will only be able to serve alcohol if it is served with “substantial” meals.
Johnson added: “Without sensible precautions we would risk the virus escalating into a winter or New Year surge. The incidence of the diseases is, alas, still widespread in many areas, so we are not going to replace national measures with a free for all and a status quo anti-Covid, we are going to go back instead to a regional tiered approach, applying the toughest measures where Covid is most prevalent.”
However, on a more positive note, the 10pm curfew for pubs and bars will end. In Tiers 1 and 2, last orders will be at 10pm and places should close at 11pm. Johnson said he hoped to announce on Thursday which tiers each area will fall into.
He added: “I am sorry to say we expect that more regions will fall, at least temporarily, into higher levels than before but by using these tougher tiers, and by using rapid turnaround tests on an ever greater scale, to drive R below one and keep it there, it should be possible for areas to move down the tiering scale to lower levels of restrictions.”
Johnson said the scientific advice was that the tiered system needed to be made tougher as the R number had still not fallen below one.