Rules which force pubs to serve ‘substantial meals’ with alcohol could be scrapped when lockdown restrictions are eased, it has been reported.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to get rid of the rule, which has left customers and landlords angry and confused, according to The Times.
The turnaround in the tight restriction on the hospitality trade has emerged as the Mr Johnson prepares to lay out his roadmap for lifting restrictions – set to begin with reopening schools at the start of March.
Limits on socialising are said to be next in line to be relaxed, and could be eased a few weeks after schools reopen.
When the rule was first enforced, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove declared a Scotch egg would constitute a substantial meal, and some pubs had been serving bowls of chips with a pint.
Johnson will set out a date for when pubs and restaurants can reopen when he announces the plan for ending lockdown in a speech on Monday, February 22.
The blueprint is said to detail how activities that can take place outdoors will be prioritised, as that it how the virus spreads less easily.
That could pave the way for the return of outdoor markets ahead of high street shops. Alfresco drinking and dining could also potentially be allowed before eating indoors.
The rules would also be applied nationwide after ministers decided not to return to the regional system of tiers when they lift restrictions.
The plans are described as “tentative”, however, with only an earliest date for schools to return so far being agreed.