Covid: What are the rules for pubs and restaurants across the UK?

Couple walk past closed pub in Camden, London
Couple walk past closed pub in Camden, London

Pubs, bars and restaurants across most of the UK are currently closed, although they can offer takeaway food and drink within certain restrictions.

Lockdowns are in place in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and most of Scotland, where the rules around takeaways and alcohol are being tightened.

What are the rules in Scotland?

Scotland has a five-level system of local coronavirus alerts, but the entire mainland is currently in the top tier of restrictions - level four.

All pubs, restaurants and cafes must remain closed in level four areas, although they can still offer takeaways.

From Friday 15 January, customers will no longer be allowed to go inside premises to collect takeaway food or coffee. Businesses will have to operate from a serving hatch or doorway.

From the same date, it will be against the law to drink alcohol outdoors in level four areas, meaning pubs can no longer offer takeaway pints for outside consumption.

Scottish pub closes its doors
Scottish pub closes its doors

Level three restrictions apply in Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and all other Scottish islands apart from Skye, Bute, Arran and Gigha (which are in level four).

In level three, premises are allowed to open - but no alcohol can be sold, and they must close at 18:00.

Customers have to provide their contact details in case contact tracers need to reach them, and must wear face coverings while moving around and when not eating or drinking.

It is mandatory for staff to wear face coverings, and only table service is allowed.

Read the Scottish government guidance here.

What are the rules in England?

Cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs across the whole of England are currently closed.

However, they are allowed to provide food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway until 23:00 GMT, and for click-and-collect and drive-through services.

Food and drink - including alcohol - can continue to be provided by delivery.

Read the English government guidance here.

What are the rules in Wales?

Wales is currently in alert level 4 which means restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs are closed.

They can offer takeaway and food delivery services, as long as reasonable measures have been put in place to stop coronavirus spreading.

Queens Vaults pub in Cardiff, closed
Queens Vaults pub in Cardiff, closed

This includes ensuring that a 2m distance is maintained between everybody on the premises, as well as people queuing up outside.

Bars and pubs may sell alcoholic drinks to take away but only if they already have a licence to do so.

Food can also be provided to homeless people, including for consumption on site.

Read the Welsh government guidance here.

What are the rules in Northern Ireland?

Cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs must remain closed, apart from providing food and drink for takeaway, drive-through or delivery.

Businesses providing takeaway services must close at 23:00 and off-sales must stop at 20:00. Outdoor areas must not be used.

The provision of food and drink in motorway services, airports and harbour terminals is allowed.

Read the Northern Irish government guidance here.

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