Extension of “pub takeaway drink rules” to continue for 18 months.

Pubs across England and Wales will retain the ability to sell takeaway drinks as the government decides to extend COVID licencing rules. Originally granted in July 2020 to help pubs weather the pandemic, these rules allowed establishments without off-premises licences to sell takeaway alcohol without the need for local council permission. Pubs were also permitted to sell alcohol on the street within the area covered by their pavement licence.

These rules were set to expire on September 30 but will now continue until March 2025, aimed at safeguarding the struggling industry’s financial stability. The move to extend these rules reflects the government’s commitment to supporting local pubs and bars.

The decision comes after two previous extensions during the pandemic, and it aligns with the feedback from the industry and public. The Prime Minister’s attention to the concerns of the industry was noted, with sources stating that the voices of pubs and bars were heard and heeded. This extension will alleviate pubs need to apply for additional licences, benefiting over 20,000 pubs belonging to members of the British Beer and Pub Association.

The decision is seen as a pragmatic step that avoids unnecessary bureaucracy and additional costs for businesses. Pubs capitalised on these rules to continue trading during COVID restrictions, allowing them to create outdoor areas for takeaway sales and al fresco dining. The decision to extend these rules has been received positively, as it provides an extra revenue stream to pubs grappling with rising costs.

While the government initially sought opinions from various stakeholders, the majority of responses indicated support for maintaining the current rules rather than returning to pre-pandemic regulations. This decision is in line with the government’s broader efforts to support British businesses and stimulate economic growth. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasised the importance of aiding British pubs and reducing unnecessary regulations, enabling customers to enjoy takeaway drinks without adding burdens to businesses.

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