Pubs should be allowed to serve takeaway pints from 12 April, Downing Street has said, in a boost for establishments that lack beer gardens..
Under the government's roadmap out of England's lockdown, outdoor hospitality will be allowed to resume in step two of reopenings.
This will take place from 12 April at the earliest, provided infection data allows it.
Pubs will not be able to serve customers indoors until step three – 17 May at the earliest – leading to fears that venues without an outdoor area will be left behind.
However, on Thursday it emerged that takeaway pints should be allowed.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “Outdoor hospitality is permitted so I believe it would be the case that takeaway alcohol will be permitted.”
Boris Johnson has been clear that a substantial meal will not need to be ordered when customers order pints, as was the case under the old tier system.
No curfew will be imposed either, though table service will still need to be used.
The government is using a five week gap between each step of easing restrictions to assess the impact of the previous stage.
Infection data has improved across the UK, with the COVID Symptom Study app reporting that cases have fallen to levels last seen in June 2020.
Government data shows that daily coronavirus cases have fallen from 68,000 in early January to below 10,000, with 9,938 reported on 24 February.
Office for National Statistics data shows the number of COVID infections in the UK has fallen to less than half the level seen earlier in the year.
It is thought 552,900 people had COVID-19 in the week ending 12 February, while 1,256,600 were thought to have it in the first week of January.
Meanwhile, more than 18 million people have been given a first dose of a vaccine, and just under 700,000 have received a second dose.
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