COVID restrictions prompt ban on sale of alcohol in UK parliament

FILE PHOTO: Britain's House Speaker Lindsay Hoyle smiles during question period at the House of Commons in London, Britain July 1, 2020. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - The bars in the House of Commons estate will be banned from selling alcohol from Saturday to reflect the tightening restrictions being placed across the UK to tackle COVID.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said it would no longer be possible to buy an alcoholic drink on the estate by the River Thames after the government shut pubs around the city of Liverpool in northern England as part of a tiered approach to curbing a surge in the novel coronavirus.

“As Members of Parliament represent different constituencies in different tiers – with the very highest level ordering the closure of pubs – I have decided to stop the sale of alcohol across the House of Commons-end of the estate from this Saturday,” Hoyle said in a statement.

Most lawmakers have returned to parliament after the first lockdown but social distancing rules limit the number that can enter the chamber at any one time. Many have criticised the government for applying different rules to try to contain a second wave of infections.

Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Grant McCool