Under the new coronavirus ban announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, pubs could remain open to patrons and serve wine after ordering “enough food”.
However, what is meant by “adequate food” is the embodiment of controversy, with a government minister insisting that a packet should not be counted as cripps.
Housing Secretary Robert Genrick suggested that if any Cornish pasti was brought “to the side of chips or salads and served on a plate, table,” it could be considered a “common meal.”
Under the new three-tier lockdown system, pubs and bars in areas covered by the UK’s “High Alert” may be forced to close if they fail to function as restaurants.
Mr Johnson said in a televised address: “Pubs and bars must serve alcohol as part of a staple meal, unless they can serve as a restaurant.”
Mr Genrick told LBC on Tuesday that a meal must be “enough” and “the kind of food you would expect as a lunch or dinner.”
“It would be like a main course, rather than a packet of chips or a plate of chips,” he said.
He added that many licensees will be familiar with the steps as they are in accordance with the previous rules regarding minors.
“If you want to go to that restaurant, or the pub, and order a metal dish with chips or a side salad or whatever comes on the Cornish pastry table, it’s a typical meal,” Mr Generick said.
“It simply came to our notice then. Our law enforcement for licensees has been around for a long time because it applies the same rules if you take a minor to a pub.
“You can’t do this if they don’t eat enough, as well as alcoholic beverages, so all the people who actually run pubs and bars will be familiar with them and know how to handle it.”
Under “extremely high” warning levels under Liverpool, the region’s official guidelines state: “Pubs and bars must be closed and they can only be where restaurants operate – which means, like the main meal, serving enough food or dinner.”
While many people went on Twitter to speculate on what would contain “enough food,” some were disappointed to see that a packet of cripps would not count.
One person asked: “Do 15 bags of crepes and a packet of pig scratches guarantee enough food? Asking for a friend. ”
Another said: “I consider Guinness to be enough food, six impressions certainly.”
Ironically, the Brewer Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), a lobby group of brewers and pubs, said the new restrictions would hurt more than 9,770 pubs.
BBPA chief executive Emma McCarkarkin said in a statement: “Creating pubs for closure and further restrictions is just the wrong decision and ultimately unfair.
“If the government really moves forward and forces most of our sector to close, a stronger financial package will be needed.”
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