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These Regulations (“the No. 4 Regulations”) bring into law the second national lockdown for England starting on 5 November 2020. The No. 4 Regulations also include the provisions relating to business closures and restrictions.

The No. 4 Regulations revoke the substantive provisions in the Medium, High and Very High Tier Regulations we reported on previously.

The Government’s guidance on the No. 4 Regulations has been published.

A brief overview of restrictions on service of food and drink

Unless an exemption applies (see below “Exemptions”), a person responsible for carrying on a restricted hospitality business (defined below) must close any premises (or that part of it) in which:

  • food or drink are provided for consumption on those premises; and
  • cease to provide food or drink for consumption on the premises.

Restricted hospitality businesses are (see also Businesses which must close completely” below):

  • Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members’ clubs
  • Cafes, including workplace canteens (unless there is no practical alternative for staff to obtain food), but not including 1. cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school, or provider of post-16 education or training, 2. canteens at criminal justice accommodation or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State responsible for defence, or services providing food and drink or either to the homeless.
  • Bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs
  • Social clubs
  • Public houses

Exemptions

Food and drink without alcohol can be sold between 05:00 – 22:00hrs for consumption off the premises including the ability for customers to enter the premises to collect their take-away during these hours.

Alcohol cannot be sold with food orders between 05:00 – 22:00hrs.

During these hours, alcohol can only be sold (for consumption off the premises) IF:

  • the alcohol is delivered to the customer; or
  • pre-ordered (click and collect) for collection but the purchaser does not enter inside the premises; or
  • drive-thru but the customer cannot enter the premises or leave their vehicle to collect.

Food and drink can be sold with alcohol after 22:00 but only if:

  • the alcohol is delivered to the customer; or
  • pre-ordered (click and collect) for collection but the purchaser does not enter inside the premises; or
  • drive-thru but the customer cannot enter the premises or leave their vehicle to collect.

Alcohol by itself can continue to be sold at anytime for consumption off the premises but only via deliveries, pre-orders (click and collect) and drive-thru (cannot enter the premises or leave their vehicle to collect).

Other exemptions:

  • Food or drink provided by a hotel or other accommodation as part of room service
  • Food and drink may be served on aircraft, trains and vessels providing a public transport service. Save for seated aircraft passengers, alcohol may not be served (regulation 17(4)).

Businesses which must close completely

Please refer to Part 2 of the No. 4 Regulations for a complete list but includes:

  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques
  • Sexual entertainment venues
  • Hostess bars
  • Tattoo and piercing parlours

Businesses permitted to remain open

Please refer to Part 3 of the No. 4 Regulations for a complete list but includes:

  • Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops
  • Off licences and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in alcohol and entertainment licensing law, appeals and defence.

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