PARLIAMENT’S bars will stay open past the 10pm curfew despite normal Brits being slapped with a pub lockdown.
MPs can enjoy a drink after the agreed closing time because bars on the estate fall under the description of “a workplace canteen”.
It comes after Boris Johnson said that “workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food”.
Staff and customers in the bars will not be required to follow the strict rules for face coverings, which other licensed premises must abide by, the Times reports.
They will also be exempt from supplying a name and phone number on entry to the bars.
Instead responsibility will fall to a team tasked with logging coronavirus cases on the Parliamentary estate.
This is all despite the government's new rules that all bars, pubs and restaurants must close between 10pm-5am.
DRUNK AND DISORDERLY
Parliament bars that reopened after the summer recess include the Pugin Room, Strangers’ Dining Room, the Adjournment and the Members’ Smoking Room.
One source told the Times that the curfew-breaking exemptions are a “massive own goal”.
While trade unions have complained that keeping the bars open later puts staff at risk.
The House of Commons said it will keep the current arrangements under review.
But explained current rules for hospitality venues do not apply to its bars and restaurants.
A spokeswoman confirmed: “We continue to follow social distancing and cleaning measures as a Covid-secure workplace in order to reduce the transmission of the disease through social distancing signage, one way systems, socially distanced seating arrangements, contactless payments, marshalling and additional cleaning.”
The move from the Commons comes as the pub curfew caused social distancing chaos this weekend with thousands spilling onto the streets after bars closed.
Social distancing went out of the window as the hoards mingled in shops and on pavements, with cops trying to break up the crowds.
The curfew led to a mass exodus of people wanting to continue the fun, but having nowhere to go.
Boozy gangs gathered in central London, Leeds, Newcastle and Bristol until the late hours on Saturday night.
The London Mayor's office urged Londoners not to congregate at closing times and urged them to follow the guidelines.
Mr Johnson said the new 10pm curfew means physically "closing and not just calling for last orders".
BEER PRESSURE: 10PM Pub curfew
A 10pm curfew for all pubs and hospitality venues across England came in from September 24.
The measure came about three months after restaurants and pubs were allowed to reopen after the coronavirus lockdown.
Boris Johnson said the new 10pm curfew means physically "closing and not just calling for last orders".
Businesses selling food or drink must be closed between 10pm and 5am.
The time that pubs are actually open after 5am to serve customers will depend on their individual premises licence.
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