MPs hoping for a quick pint after a day in the House of Commons are not required to drink up before the nationwide 10pm curfew, it has emerged.
Parliament’s bars “are understood to be exempt from the earlier closing time” that kicked in last Thursday as part of a raft of new social distancing rules, The Times reports. And unlike most other other public venues, the bars do not have to gather customers’ details either.
The parliamentary pubs have reportedly avoided the strict 10pm cut-off because they fall under the definition of a “workplace canteen”, which according to Boris Johnson’s latest regulations “may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food”.
House of Commons authorities have said that the special arrangements will be kept “under review”. But the exemptions are expected to be met with anger from outside Westminster, with a parliamentary source telling The Times that the decision was “a massive own goal”.
The curfew for pubs, restaurants and bars has also triggered fury in the hospitality industry, with bosses warning that the decision may be the final nail in the coffin for many venues. Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, told ITV News that the new rules were “another devastating blow to the beer and pub sector”.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has also criticised the curfew, saying that it is “making things more dangerous”.
Anderson “spoke out after crowds gathered in the city as the pubs turned out drinkers on Saturday night”, the BBC reports.
Merseyside Police told the broadcaster that there had been was “a spontaneous gathering around a local street performer”, but added that people “dispersed within minutes under the close monitoring of officers and via CCTV”.
Anderson described the scenes of revellers crowded together in Liverpool centre as “shocking but predictable”.