PUBS should reopen to sell takeaway pints and food as soon as possible or face ruin, MPs warned Boris Johnson last night.
A slew of MPs demanded the PM use next week’s unlocking statement to allow boozers to open their doors once again, scrap the hated “substantial meal” rule and to extend the VAT cut to help them to bounce back.
It comes as part of a nationwide campaign led by the Countryside Alliance Research showed that a staggering six in 10 believe they will go out of business if lockdown restrictions are not sufficiently lifted until the summer.
Landlords also revealed they had spent up to £5,000 making their pubs Covid safe only to be ordered to shut their doors once again. And they aren’t allowed to sell alcohol to take-away in the latest lockdown either, a final nail in the coffin for many pubs.
Andrew Rosindell MP, said last night: “As we continue to successfully roll out the Covid-19 vaccine, focus should move now to how we go about repairing our fragile economy.
“Whilst it has been right to be cautious, it is clear that pubs and the hospitality industry at large, need to be trading again soon. Pubs should be allowed to sell takeaway drinks and when allowed to reopen fully need to do so without unnecessary regulations like the substantial meal requirement.”
The Alliance is calling for the PM to offer a clear roadmap back to trading again, and for extra support if they are ordered to stay closed into the summer.
Paul Edwards, who runs the Red Lion pub in Caston, Norfolk, said: “As a landlord who is serving takeaway meals, being able to sell alcohol too would be a big help for my business.
“However, when we can open fully, we want to be able to get customers back through the door and the substantial meal requirement acts as a big barrier to our potential footfall.”
‘THESE ASKS ARE ESSENTIAL’
A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance added: “The pub trade is a very important employer in many fragile, local economies.
“These asks are essential if we are to see these fine institutions standing for future generations to enjoy.”
The Sun revealed last week how the PM plans to open pubs in April in time for Easter, if the vaccine rollout continues to go well.
That will mean boozers have been shut across the nation for nearly four months in total.
It came as Government scientists warned that the “one metre plus” rule which has hammered pubs and restaurants should stay in place for months to come.
Ministers are under huge pressure to reduce all social distancing rules after vaccinating the over 50s, but scientists think they should stay in place into the summer.
A government source told Sky: “This is the killer argument and no decision has been made. A lot rests on it for some businesses – the difference between being viable and not.”
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A second senior Whitehall source confirmed no decision had been made on the “one metre plus” rule.
Keeping people apart inside pubs means fewer people are allowed in – and will continue to hit profits.
The one-metre plus rule means Brits should keep at least a one metre apart, and use other social distancing measures using masks and screens too.
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