Parliament’s bars are exempt from the coronavirus restrictions that were imposed upon the nation’s pubs and restaurants last week
According to a report in The Times, bars inside Parliament are exempt from the Government’s newly imposed 10pm curfew on the basis that they fall under the description of “a workplace canteen”.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson covered his tracks last week when he stated that “workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food”.
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As well as being allowed to remain open later than every other pub in the land, staff and patrons at parliament’s bars are also be exempt from wearing face coverings and are not required to give their contact details to the bars upon entry.
The Mail Online reports: The revelations come after a number of bars in Parliament, including the Strangers’ Dining Room, the Adjournment and the Members’ Smoking Room and Pugin Room, were reopened to MPs before the summer recess.
The regulations are now reportedly being kept under review by the House of Commons but one source told The Times the rules were ‘a massive own goal’ for Parliament.
This week Boris Johnson announced a new wave of Covid-19 restrictions that could last up to six months- including a 10pm curfew on bars, pubs and restaurants in England.
The 10pm curfew on the hospitality sector sparked an immediate industry backlash as the UKHospitality group said it was ‘another crushing blow’.
There were also fears the move could have unintended consequences amid warnings of a potential ‘surge of unregulated events and house parties’.
Tory MPs also expressed concerns about the curfew plans, describing them as a ‘terrible blow’ for the hospitality industry and warning there must not be another ‘major lockdown’.
It was claimed that Mr Johnson had initially backed a total shutdown of the hospitality and leisure sectors before Chancellor Rishi Sunak persuaded him to take a less severe course after warning of economic carnage.
Just hours after setting out the new measures, the Prime Minister issued an emotional plea to the nation and warned Britons they faced a long hard winter of police-enforced curbs on their freedom to see off coronavirus.
He also hit out at his critics – including Tory MPs and business leaders who warned of the economic impact of the tough measures, adding: ‘To those who say we don’t need this stuff, and we should leave people to take their own risks, I say these risks are not our own.
*** UPDATE: Bars in parliament will no longer be permitted to sell alcohol after 10pm, the House authorities have been forced to announce after The Times revealed they were exempt from the pub curfew.