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The UK government is considering keeping pubs closed for a further five months as it looks at long-term plans to gradually ease the current national lockdown, according to a new report from the Sunday Times.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown for England last Monday (4 January), tentatively telling people to expect it to remain in place until at least mid-February.
Michael Gove later suggested it would more likely the lockdown would continue until March, with legislation on the new restrictions lasting until 31 March.
But boozers will reportedly be among the last businesses to reopen, with ministers aiming for the bank holiday on 3 May as a potential date.
A source told the Sunday Times: "The May Day bank holiday is more likely the moment you see pubs reopening."
Johnson has said the current restrictions will be 'kept under continuous review', with a statutory requirement to 'review every two weeks' and a legal obligation to 'remove them if they are no longer deemed necessary to limit the transmission of the virus'.
During his address to MPs ahead of the vote on the new set of rules last week, Johnson said the emergence from lockdown would be 'gradual'.
Explaining why the legislation involved was written to run until 31 March, he told MPs: "As was the case last spring, our emergence from the lockdown cocoon will not be a big bang but a gradual unwrapping.
"That is why the legislation this House will vote on later today runs until 31 March. Not because we expect the full national lockdown to continue until then, but to allow a steady, controlled and evidence-led move down through the tiers on a regional basis - carefully, brick by brick, as it were, breaking free of our confinement but without risking the hard won gains that our protections have given us."
Under the new rules, alcohol is banned for takeaway and click-and-collect - though it will still be available for delivery.
According to reports, the measure was put in place in order to stop people from congregating around pubs and bars.
All non-essential retail must also remain closed, including hairdressers and salons, while all schools and colleges have been told to revert to online learning - other than for vulnerable pupils or the children of key workers.
LADbible has contacted Number 10 for a comment.
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