Pubs: No more substantial meals – How Brighton pubs could come back

The Government is to scrap the substantial meal rule in its post-lockdown roadmap coming 22 February.

Brighton pubs rejoice! Substantial meals will be done away with when pubs come back according to The Times, with a full roadmap to be announced on 22 February.

Details of the Government’s plan to reopen the economy are beginning to leak to the press, with The Times claiming that the inconceivably ridiculous ‘substantial meal’ rule is to be axed.

The powers of Westminster will officially begin assessing the state of the union from 15 February, with a formal announcement expected on Monday the 22nd.

Whilst this is still some time off, there are indications of what the near future will hold for the hospitality sector. The big headline is that post-lockdown measures may well be nation-wide rather than locally judged, which for publicans at least may be a small relief.

Whilst such would seem to hint that the opening of the country will be at a more deliberate pace than before, it will at least offer greater clarity for operators – as well as warding against the high costs of opening, closing and reopening sites at the drop of a hat.

Further good news (loose term) for publicans is that the divisive, and generally stupid, substantial meal policy may well be dropped when hospitality reopens, and that a business rate cut may be on the horizon.

The former is being reported by The Times and appears to have been gleaned from comments made by Boris Johnson himself, so whether this holds any water remains to be seen. The Morning Advertiser further claims that pubs may be allowed to open outdoor areas before any of its internal space, which given the public’s propensity to dispense with masks the second they feel fresh air, may not be the wise move it is being painted to be.

Good news about business rates has arisen due to The Treasury urging local councils to hold off on issuing business rates bills before the budget is announced on 3 March.

Licensing bodies would usually be revving up to drop bills into letterboxes ahead of the new financial year on 1 April, so the call for a temporary abstention would indicate that the playing field is due to be changed when tiny Rishi flashes us his red briefcase, and tells us to tighten our belts before jumping into his Scrooge McDuck pool of blind trust money again.

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