YOU are not allowed to enjoy a pint inside the pub — or outside in the beer garden. But you can order one to take away… even it’s only a few steps.
Hard-pressed publicans are exploiting a loophole in the lockdown law to provide thirsty punters with their favourite brew.
Among them are the Princess Of Wales in Primrose Hill, where actor Laurence Fox was spotted enjoying a pint on the pavement outside, and The Althorp in Wandsworth — where drinkers have been taking their (plastic) glasses across the road to the Common.
But these London boozers are not the only ones — pubs across the country have been offering takeaway services from Bournemouth and Brighton to Whitley Bay outside Newcastle.
Some are even opening their car parks as ‘drive-brews’.
And many have been raising cash for charity. The Bohemia in Finchley, north London, has raised almost £7,000 for charities such as Solace Women’s Aid by opening for ‘carry-outs’ for two hours every Friday.
The government has suggested pubs could reopen from July 4 as part of ‘stage three’ on its ‘road map’ for lifting lockdown — but only if they meet safety criteria.
Environment secretary George Eustice has said: ‘We intend that the hospitality sector, including pubs, would be able to tentatively start gradually opening, hopefully during the month of July — subject to the epidemiology supporting such a move.’ However, the British Beer and Pub Association insists more than half of the country’s 47,000 pubs have gardens, making them well-placed for social distancing guidelines.
Its chief executive Emma McClarkin said: ‘We want to explore all opportunities for pubs to reopen as soon as is possible. The 27,000 pubs in the UK with beer gardens will be among the best placed to reopen under social distancing conditions and so should be among the first to reopen. This would let people enjoy their local community pub’s beer garden in the summer sun.’ She added: ‘It is great to hear about enterprising publicans selling takeaway beer for the sizzling weekend ahead.
‘Any revenue for pubs at this tremendously difficult time is absolutely vital… some have even started drive-throughs to get fresh beer to their customers.’
Meanwhile, Andy Wood, chief executive of Suffolk-based Adnams brewery, is calling for the social distancing rule to be reduced from two metres to one — ‘otherwise pubs will go bankrupt’.