Sunday, 25 Oct 2020

Politicians exempt from 10pm bar curfew as House of Commons boozers use sneaky loophole

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Despite imposing stricter restrictions on hospitality venues, bars on the Westminster estate are exempt from the closing time. Under the regulations, the bars are classed as a workplace canteen and therefore exempt from the 10pm curfew. Within the coronavirus guidelines, workplace canteens remain open for staff where there is no possible alternative.

Visitors to the Parliamentary bars will also not be asked to supply contact details upon entry.

A team takes responsibility as a point of contact for MPs and staff on the estate, The Times has revealed.

A former Cabinet Minister said: “We’re risking parliament being a centre of infection.”

This comes amid increased controversy over the new 10pm curfew rule.

Boris Johnson has been put under increased pressure to review the new curfew, amid images of members of the public in crowded streets after the closing time.

The new measures were brought in to try and reduce the surge in daily cases, but crowds have been seen gathering across the country following the curfew.

Some have called for the Government to change the decision, while industry experts have insisted closing times must be staggered.

Emma McClarkin told the British Beer and Pub Association said: “Having not been consulted by the government on the announcements last week, we do stand ready to work with the government to find the safest and most practical ways to tackle coronavirus whilst crucially keeping our businesses and the hundreds of thousands of jobs they provide alive.

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“As we have seen this weekend, the hard 10pm curfew has led to the consequence of customers leaving venues and filling the streets en masse.

“We would like to see the hard 10pm reviewed to allow us flexibility on doors closing time and allow customers to stagger their exits.”

Amid criticism for the new rule, Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden was forced to defend the science behind the regulation.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, he warned the public must play their part in order to stop the surge in coronavirus cases.

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He said: “There is definitely science behind it, that’s why we’re requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants, so that stops the flow of them to and from the bar.

“We are reducing the closing times to stop people staying later and drinking.

“And the point about all of this is that everyone has their part to play.

“If we all play by the rules, we can ensure that there are not further, more draconian restrictions.”

Former Brexit Party MEP, Rupert Lowe said: “Whoever came up with the idea that Parliament pubs should be open past 10pm should be fired.

“The contempt some of these people have for the public is astounding.

“They should remember who funds their salaries – us!”

Over the last week, officials have expressed their concern over the second wave of the virus hitting the country.

On September 25, the UK recorded its highest daily rise with 6,874 cases taking the total to 423,236 cases overall.

A spokeswoman for the house of Commons told The Times: “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 Commons has also admitted it will review the current guidelines.

Express.co.uk has approached the House of Commons for comment.

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