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No More Pints or Pimm's Here for Now

Alcohol sales banned in British Parliament's bars, restaurants as COVID restrictions are tightened
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2020 8:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – Don't expect to grab a pint at your favorite Parliament watering hole anytime soon. Starting Saturday, alcohol is banned at all House of Commons venues, in what Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle says is an attempt to bring the governmental institution "into line with the national picture," PA Media reports. "As MPs represent different constituencies in different tiers, with the very highest level ordering the closure of pubs, I have decided to stop the sale of alcohol across the House of Commons," Hoyle says. Even though London is now under what's called "Tier 2" status—meaning people from different households aren't allowed to mingle indoors together, but bars and restaurants can stay open—the city of Liverpool has been placed under Tier 3, which means bars and pubs can serve alcohol only if they also serve food.

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And "food" doesn't mean a bowl of peanuts on the bar; a "substantial meal" has to accompany any boozy beverage. The House of Commons rule takes things a step further, with the alcohol ban in place "whether food is served or not," Hoyle says. The Sun reports that in September, the public was made aware that Parliament bars and restaurants were exempt from shutting down by a national 10pm curfew because they were classified as "workplace canteens"—meaning MPs and other government workers could keep quaffing well into the night. Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who was himself accused of drinking past the curfew (which he denies), notes that in London, "infection rates are on a steep upward path, with cases doubling every 10 days." All restrictions are reassessed every four weeks. (Read more House of Commons stories.)

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