Government Confirms Parliament Bars Won't Be Exempt From Curfew Following Backlash
Parliament bars will no longer be able to sell alcohol after the 10pm curfew following a backlash.
The Times reported that bars inside the Palace of Westminster were exempt from the tighter regulations introduced across England on Thursday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to their classification as 'workplace canteens'.
The hospitality regulations announced by Johnson last week stipulated that 'workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food'.
However, in an updated statement this (Monday) morning, a UK Parliament spokesperson told LADbible: "Alcohol will not be sold after 10pm anywhere on the parliamentary estate."
The spokesperson added that no alcohol had been sold on the parliamentary estate since Thursday.
News of the now-closed loophole sparked an outcry among MPs and members of the public:
Mask wearing in chauffeur driven cars, the Westminister bar doesnt have to close and of course that much loved activity across the country, grouse shooting, are all exempt from the new Coronavirus rules / laws
Definitely for the people, of course#CovidUK #COVID19 #oneruleforthem
- Adam :flag_white:️:rainbow::video_game: (@GaymerChat) September 28, 2020
My local can now stay open after 10pm #oneruleforthem pic.twitter.com/OW8H0PA1aP
- BBQ Stu (@BBQStuUK) September 28, 2020
@estwebber Parliament's bars exempt from 10pm curfew? Appalling decision - had no idea. This sort of thing is what brings Parliament into disrepute. Who makes these decisions? The Speaker's Commission? Will look into it.
- George Freeman MP (@GeorgeFreemanMP) September 28, 2020
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Pubs in Westmorland have been Covid compliant, changing their closing times dutifully and being utterly responsible despite the damage it is doing to their business. This is just another 2 fingers up at them. I promise you I won't be availing myself of this exemption! https://t.co/qUsUJw34IH
- Tim Farron (@timfarron) September 28, 2020
Under the new regulations brought in across England on Thursday, pubs can be fined up to £10,000 if they do not take contact details from customers, so they can be traced in the event of an outbreak. However, customers do not have to do this at Parliament's bars because of their 'workplace canteen' categorisation.
MPs do not have to register their presence at Parliament but are advised not to attend if they have Covid-19 symptoms.
A spokeswoman for the House of Commons told The Times: "We continue to follow social distancing and cleaning measures as a Covid-secure workplace in order to reduce the transmission of the disease through social distancing signage, one way systems, socially distanced seating arrangements, contactless payments, marshalling and additional cleaning."
Since the curfew was introduced, some bars, clubs and restaurants have started opening earlier as a means of getting around it.
Popworld bars in Liverpool and York announced they'll be opening from 4pm until 10pm on Fridays, offering a heap of drinks promotions to try to encourage people to spend in the little time that they have, while popular Caribbean chain restaurant Turtle Bay is starting a 'bottomless brunch' that offers unlimited cocktails from 10am.
When announcing the curfew, Johnson said he was 'sorry' to businesses struggling to get back on their feet, but said it was time for the Government to act.
Tom Stainer, from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), told The Sun: "This is punishing the thousands of responsible publicans across England who are providing a Covid-secure environment for their communities, while already operating at greatly reduced levels in their efforts to keep their customers safe.
"Make no mistake about this - without a proper financial support package, communities will lose their local forever, people will lose their jobs, and publicans their livelihoods."
Featured Image Credit: PA