It's official: Off-licenses are 'essential' says UK government

They have been added to the list of retailers allowed to stay open during the Covid-19 pandemic

Updated on • Written By Henry Coldstream

It's official: Off-licenses are 'essential' says UK government

Off-licenses have been deemed essential by the government and have been added to the list of retailers which are allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government's list, which includes retailers such as supermarkets, petrol stations, and pharmacies, was updated on Wednesday to include bicycle shops, post offices, and off-licenses. This comes after customers reported that supermarkets were beginning to run out of beer and wine.


Last week all pubs, bars and restaurants were forced to close, before the government announced on Monday that all non-essential retailers and institutes would have to follow suit, in order to minimise the spread of the virus.

Tim Martin, who is head of the Wetherspoons pub group, has complained that all of the chain's trade has gone to supermarkets, and even told all of his staff that they ought to take jobs at supermarkets amid the current uncertainty.

Many pubs and bars are now calling for the government to allow them to start selling off their existing alcohol stock by either delivery or collection, as numerous products will go out of date before the premises can reopen.

Boris Johnson this week told the public that they can only leave their homes to stop for basic necessities and to exercise a maximum of once a day.

He said: "You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can."

“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

The closure of restaurants has led many places starting to deliver their food, with even some Michelin-starred spots offering a takeaway service.

There are many different ways that you can support your local restaurants during this difficult time for the industry.