13 Oct Is a pasty a meal? Tier three pubs can stay open if they serve ‘substantial’ food
However, what constitutes to a “substantial meal” is up for debate, with one government minister insisting that a packet of crisps does not count.
According to the new three-tier lockdown system, pubs and bars in areas under “high alert” in the UK may be forced to close unless they can operate as a restaurant.
Mr Johnson said in a televised address: “Pubs and bars must close unless they can operate solely as a restaurant, serving alcohol only as part of a main meal.”
Mr Jenrick told LBC on Tuesday that a meal must be “substantial” and “the sort of meal that you would expect to have as a midday meal or an evening meal”.
“It would be like a main course, rather than, say, a packet of crisps or a plate of chips,” he said.
He added that many licence-holders would be familiar with the measures as they were similar to previous rules regarding minors.
“If you would expect to go into that restaurant normally, or pub, and order a plated meal at the table of a Cornish pasty with chips or side salad or whatever comes with it, then that’s a normal meal,” said Mr Jenrick.
“This isn’t actually as unusual a concept as you might feel. We’ve had this in law for licence-holders for a long time because it’s the same rule that has applied if you take a minor into a pub.
“You can’t do so unless they have a substantial meal alongside the alcoholic drinks, so people who actually run pubs and bars will be familiar with this and know how to operate it.”
Official guidance for areas under the “very high” alert tier, which covers Liverpool, state: “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 meals.”
Many people took to Twitter to speculate what a “substantial meal” would comprise of, with some showing dismay that a packet of crisps would not count.
One person asked: “Does 15 bags of crisps and a packet of pork scratchings warrant a substantial meal? Asking for a friend.”
Another said: “I consider Guinness a substantial meal, well, six pints certainly is.”
Jokes aside, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), a lobby group for brewers and pubs, said more than 970 pubs would be affected by the new restrictions.
BBPA CEO Emma McClarkin said in a statement: “Singling out pubs for closure and further restrictions is simply the wrong decision and grossly unfair.
“If the government is really going to go ahead and force much of our sector to close, then a far stronger financial package of support is going to be needed.”