Coronavirus: Pubs 'could ration drinkers to only three pints' after lockdown

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
Customers collecting their drinks at the bar of Irish pub O'Neill's in Carnaby Street, central London.
A government adviser has suggested restricting customers to two to three pints each once pubs reopen and social distancing is eased. (PA)

Customers could only be allowed a maximum of three pints in pubs when they reopen after coronavirus restrictions are lifted, a government adviser says.

Speaking to The Guardian, Professor Eyal Winter, an economist at Lancaster University, said pub landlords could ration beer to drinkers before politely asking them to go home.

He suggested restricting customers to two to three pints each once pubs reopen when the government’s social distancing measures are eased.

“People are starving for pubs,” he said. “They are an important part of British culture.”

Prof Winter, part of a team of behavioural experts advising the government, said pubs, restaurants and shops could reopen as long as physical distancing measures were in place, with fines for those who break them.

The government is under increasing pressure to publish its plan for easing social distancing measures, as employers and businesses feel the financial pain of the pandemic.

Under its “stay at home” rules, people should only go outside for food, health reasons, one form of exercise or work (and only if they cannot work from home). If people do go outside, they should stay two metres apart from others.

On Monday, Downing Street said Boris Johnson will set out the details of how he plans to ease the lockdown later this week.

Returning to work after being admitted to hospital for coronavirus, the prime minister warned that lifting measures too soon could lead to a “huge loss of life”.

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Johnson has also said the government's five tests must be met before measures are eased.

The five tests are: making sure the NHS can cope; a consistent fall in the daily death rate; the rate of infection dropping; ensuring there are enough tests and personal protective equipment to meet future demand and ruling out the risk of a second outbreak.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in Downing Street as he returns to work following his recovery from Covid-19 on April 27, 2020 in London, England. The Prime Minister said the country needed to continue its lockdown measures to avoid a second spike in infections. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson will outline his lockdown exit plan later this week. (Getty Images)

But any UK move out of lockdown could be complicated by the individual plans of Scotland and Wales – the two countries have already published frameworks for lowering restrictions.

On Monday, Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford said he is ready to move his country out of lockdown earlier than the rest of the UK.

In Wales, shops are already able to open if they can use a click and collect system, and people are allowed to exercise twice a day.

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On Sunday, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said her country could have a different exit strategy if she felt the UK government had taken “premature” decisions.

Across Europe, a number of countries have either started easing their measures or announced plans to do so.

In Italy, factories, construction sites and wholesale supply businesses can resume activity as soon as they put safety measures in place against the virus.

From 4 May, parks and gardens will reopen, funerals will be allowed, athletes can resume training, and people will be able to visit relatives living in the same region.

In Spain, children were allowed to go outside for the first time in six weeks on Sunday, and prime minister Pedro Sanchez is due to present a detailed plan for the “de-escalation” of the country’s lockdown, but has already warned the scheme would be cautious.

The French government is also preparing to ease its severe lockdown, with prime minister Édouard Philippe due to present a strategy to parliament on Tuesday.

In Germany, small shops were allowed to reopen last week, although social distancing rules will remain in place until at least 3 May, and schools will gradually reopen from the following day.

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