Adding some cheer to a not-so-merry Christmas
‘Tis the season to be jolly– well, jollyish, as long as you don’t live in a Tier 3 area. As ever, we’re fully behind the Government’s continuing attempts to fight the spread of the Covid-19 virus, but for millions of people across great swathes of England the news that at least half (and probably all) of December will be devoid of Christmas cheer is about as welcome as an empty stocking on the morning of the 25th.
The November lockdown has been tough enough to get through, but the carrot of relaxed rules around drinking and eating out has been snatched away for millions in the North East, North West, Midlands, South and parts of the South West.
Under regulations due to be reviewed in mid-December, all that pubs and restaurants in Tier 3 areas can provide is off-sales. Cold comfort for licensees and proprietors everywhere hoping the Christmas trade would go some way to rescuing a miserable year. In fairness, the drinking and eating masses across the country have done what they can to support struggling businesses, but we all know the economic sums are not adding up.
Christmas parties and anything else that involves getting up, wandering around, shouting, laughing, cheering and all that stuff we associate with this time of year will have to wait till 2021
If you’re operating in Tier 2 (which includes London, Liverpool, much of the South East and South West as well as pockets elsewhere) you can at least throw open your doors (well, one door maybe) and show your guests to their table. Drinking and eating are permitted till 10pm with, at least, an hour’s grace till closing. But Christmas parties and anything else that involves getting up, wandering around, shouting, laughing, cheering and all that stuff we associate with this time of year will have to wait till 2021. Small price to pay for good health, but let’s hope that those favourite pubs, clubs and eating houses can stay in business long enough to welcome back the public en masse.
Even the residents of Cornwall and those fortunate isles (Wight, Scilly) can’t stretch the static drinking and eating and reduced opening times. But at least they can gather together 4,000 at a time. Outdoors. If 4,000 people in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight or the Isles of Scilly have anything to attend which merits that sort of crowd.
It’s almost a given that, within these basic rules governing the hospitality sector in the middle of a pandemic, there are tweaks, oddities – call them what you will. You don’t quite need a GPS to navigate your way through the regulations, but if there’s something that’s unclear, or you want the certainty of expert, legally-backed advice, Complete Licensing is always on hand to help and clarify.
One thing is certain. Our pubs and restaurants and all their staff are going to work harder than ever to make sure customers feel at least a bit merry. Bet the tips will be good…