Takeaways pints may be back on the menu in the new lockdown, according to an apparent loophole.
England’s pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes have been ordered shut in the latest set of coronavirus restrictions.
But they are allowed to sell food and non-alcoholic drinks takeaway if they can.
Drinkers hoping for a return to the takeaways pints in parks of the height of the summertime restrictions were disappointed when the original guidance was published.
The government guidance had said takeaway booze would be banned for the winter lockdown, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said will last until at least December 2.
However, there seems to be a catch that could delight punters and struggling boozers bracing for a dry November, according to the latest legislation presented to Parliament today.
MPs must approve the measures tomorrow for the legislation to take effect on Thursday.
But some noted in a significant departure from the original guidance publish earlier this week, the legislation appears to allow ordering takeaway alcohol by pre-order – over phone, web or post.
Currently, many living in lockdown order their groceries online – booze included.
And delivery services were not halted from selling tipple to customers ordering from providers like UberEats and Deliveroo.
But the latest set of guidance earlier appeared to be a fresh blow to pubs and bars- who would have to return to selling takeaway food and non-alcoholic drinks only.
Hospitality bosses warned it could be the death knell for the already struggling industry.
Some wondered whether the apparent wiggle-room in the wording of the legislation published this afternoon may contain a loophole to brighten the lockdown news.
I Paper deputy political editor Hugo Gye spotted the key paragraphs, that appear to allow pubs and bars facing the pain of yet another shutdown to get creative.
The phrasing that got punters scratching their heads is contained in the ‘exceptions’ section of the proposed legislation published Tuesday afternoon concerning sales of alcohol.
It outlines how the only way a ‘restricted business’ – such as a pub – can sell alcohol for consumption off the premises between the hours of 5am and 10pm, is if meets a certain method of sale.
The method of sale was outlined as “making deliveries in response to orders received.”
Those orders could be received through a website or other means of online communication, by telephone – including orders by text message – or by post.
It goes on to say that the purchaser may then collect their booze, as long as they do not enter the premises.
The purchase can also be passed to a person picking it up in their vehicle – as long as they don’t get out of their ride to do so, the legislation outlines.
While the Government has not explicitly said takeaway booze will be allowed, the paragraphs were swiftly interpreted as a licence for pick-up pints in lockdown.
The revelation led to a flurry of hopeful Twitter users tagging their favourite local pubs to alert them to the apparent loophole.
Some punters declared they were off to buy stamps to mail in orders to their boozers.
Others speculated it may allow pubs to permit takeaway orders via apps, which many have already introduced to allow table-service orders under the current set of rules.
The loophole has yet to be confirmed by ministers tonight.
But Twitter user Peter Costen helpfully supplied a blueprint for punters considering postal orders, writing: “‘Sir, I write to enquire about the availability of a couple of pints of Old Bob.
“I enclose a postal order to the value of £8.00.
“My carriage will collect the goods no later than supper time. Yours.”