Tougher lockdown could see hospitality banned from offering takeaway services

By James McAlllister

- Last updated on GMT

Tougher lockdown in England could see hospitality banned from offering takeaway and click and collect services

Related tags: Coronavirus, lockdown, Takeaway

Hospitality businesses in England could be banned from offering takeaway and click-and-collect services under tougher lockdown proposals being considered by ministers.

According to reports, scaling back the use of collection services for restaurants and takeaway, as well as non-essential retailers, was raised as part of the Cabinet sub-committee known as 'Covid O' on Sunday (10 January).

One source told The Telegraph​: "The general feedback is that click and collect is not working, people aren’t wearing masks in queues, people are too close to each other."

Two others cited takeaway food services and non-essential retail stores, some of which have switched to click and collect to avoid closing during the third lockdown, as areas of concern.

It comes amid growing fears within the Government that the current lockdown restrictions in England are not doing enough to contain the spread of the virus. 

Officials are reported to be increasingly concerned over the risk of transmission among customers forming long queues to collect items and fast food, with many people said to not wearing masks while doing so.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday (11 January): "When people are getting takeaway drinks, in cafes, then they need to avoid spreading the disease there, avoid mingling too much."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is also understood to be considering a ban on takeaways and click and collect services, and will announce a decision tomorrow (13 January) on whether those restrictions will come into effect.

The subject of whether cafes should be allowed to continue operating for takeaway and click-and-collect was also brought up during yesterday's Westminster Hall debate on the creation of a Minister for Hospitality​.

Addressing Labour MP Catherine McKinnell, who led the debate, Conservative Steve Brine said that while serving takeaway coffee isn't 'breaking the rules', it should not be considered essential. 

He said: "I do not know whether [McKinnell] is a coffee drinker, but I am sure that she is aware in her constituency, as I am in mine, of the clusters of caffeine seekers outside kiosks and, even worse, inside waiting for a takeaway—they are a pretty common sight.

"Does she agree that, although those sales are not breaking any rules, they are not essential? We might need to put our coffee culture on hold for the time being."

Last week in a significant move, fast food giant McDonald's announced it was to suspend offering walk-in takeaway from its branches in the UK and Ireland during England's third national lockdown​, in order to allow the chain time to review and reassess its safety procedures.

However the chain, which operates some 1,300 sites across the UK, added that its restaurants would remain open for drive thru and delivery services.

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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