U-turn on alcohol takeaway sales 'positive' move says Hartlepool hospitality chief

Darab Rezai of Hartlepool Licensing Association welcomed the u-turn on takeaway alcohol sales.Darab Rezai of Hartlepool Licensing Association welcomed the u-turn on takeaway alcohol sales.
Darab Rezai of Hartlepool Licensing Association welcomed the u-turn on takeaway alcohol sales.
A government u-turn that allows bars and restaurants to sell takeaway alcohol during the nationwide lockdown has been welcomed by a Hartlepool hospitality chief.

Official guidelines published over the weekend initially indicated a ban on serving alcohol takeaways for restaurants and pubs when they are made to close from Thursday, November 5.

But new rules, subject to a Parliament vote on Wednesday night, state customers can pre-order their drink online, by phone or post, which can be collected from businesses as long as they do not enter the premises.

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Chairman of Hartlepool Licensing Association Darab Rezai said: “I think it’s a positive thing for hospitality.

"A lot of bars and restaurants that are serving [takeaway] food, now they are able to accompany that with drink.

"It can only be a good thing for restaurants and licensees. Restaurants and bars are very responsible and we don’t want any to end up closing down for good.

"This gives an opportunity to the people who want to trade to do so.”

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Industry bosses had previously warned the ban on alcohol takeaway sales would result in ‘thousands of gallons’ of beer being poured down drains.

Nik Antona, chairman of the The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), said: “This is a vital lifeline for local pubs and breweries across England over the coming four weeks, giving them a lifeline of income and allowing people to support local businesses."

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Details of the proposed regulations say that a restricted business can only sell alcohol for off-premises consumption by “making deliveries in response to orders received” online, by phone, including text message, or by post.

The regulations also explain that pre-ordered drinks can be sold to, and collected by, a customer “provided the purchaser does not enter inside the premises to do so”.

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A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “Public health and safety remains our number one priority and that is why pubs and other hospitality venues cannot serve alcohol on site to take away to prevent people from gathering outside their premises.

“However, they can sell alcohol as part of delivery services, including through click and collect, over the telephone and by other remote methods of ordering for collection, provided customers do not congregate as groups once they have picked up their order.”

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