While restaurants and pubs across the country are required to shut their doors come 10pm, it has been revealed that the bars in Parliament don’t have to follow the same guidance.
The recent change in the law - for the majority of hospitality business - has been put in place to try to get a better handle on the ‘second wave’ of Coronavirus. We’ve been seeing these waves across the country, with spikes in places like Manchester and Cardiff resulting in local lockdowns. It has been touted that carefully monitoring restaurants and bars in this way should help to keep things under control in the coming weeks.
However, according to The Times newspaper, the bars politicians drink at in Palace of Westminster are exempt due to them falling under the bracket of “a workplace canteen”. This means that both staff and customers at these spots will be able to enjoy a few drinks passed the curfew, which is in place elsewhere, and it is thought that will also not be required to wear face coverings. The curfew guideline announced by the Prime Minister last week say that “workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food”.
Speaking to The Times, a spokeswoman for the House of Commons commented: “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.”
There are a number of bars in Parliament, including the Strangers' Dining Room, the Adjournment and the Members' Smoking Room and Pugin Room. These were all opened again to MPs following the summer recess.
It has been reported that these arrangements are to be kept under review in the coming weeks, but that a source described the outcome as a massive “own goal” for the government.
If you fancy a drink without the chance of being chucked out come 10pm, why not have a browse of our favourite bottomless brunches in London.