Pubs will be allowed to sell take away alcohol in a bid to ease the pressure faced by the industry.
Orders cannot be made in person and must be conducted through either a website, phone or text message.
Restaurants will not be granted this ability, although they will be allowed to sell takeaway food.
“Takeaway alcohol from pubs if it is pre-ordered and customers don’t enter the premises is movement, but still not anywhere near enough,” said Emma McClarkin, the chief executive for the British Beer & Pub Association.
“Supermarkets and off-licences can still sell alcohol, so this is grossly unfair on pubs with off-licences. It remains the case that to help pubs and brewers survive, and to stop up to 7.5 million pints from being wasted, the government needs to give pubs the same ability to sell off-licence alcohol as it did in the first lockdown.”
“It is a welcome and helpful clarification that pubs and restaurants will be permitted to continue with off-licence sales of alcohol through delivery, as well as click and collect for pre-ordered sales,” said Kate Nichols from lobby group UK Hospitality.
“This was a lifeline to many businesses in the first lockdown and it is good to see common sense prevail this time too – avoiding waste and providing a valuable community service – although we can see no reason why a pub could not operate as a retail outlet for pre-packaged food and drink as many did last time.”
A government spokesperson said: “We recognise that these are extremely challenging circumstances for pubs and the hospitality industry. Public health and safety remains our number one priority and that is why pubs and other hospitality venues cannot serve alcohol on site to takeaway to prevent people from gathering outside their premises.
“However, they can sell alcohol as part of delivery services, including through click and collect, over the telephone and by other remote methods of ordering for collection, provided customers do not congregate as groups once they have picked up their order.”