English pubs can open in highest COVID areas if they serve meals, says government

People are seen in a window of the Beehive pub amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Britain, October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Lee Smith

LONDON (Reuters) - Pubs and bars can only remain open in the highest coronavirus alert areas of England if they operate as if they were a restaurant and serve substantial meals, the government said on Monday.

After Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a new three-tier system, the government said of those areas in the “very high” alert level: “Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.”

Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper