Drive-thru fast-food outlets can remain open after 10pm, the Government has confirmed, as a new wave of tough coronavirus restrictions takes hold.
While pubs will be forced to close by 10pm, formal guidance issued by the Government shows delivery services will be allowed to continue past 10pm.
Meanwhile, it states individual punters cannot be fined for propping up the bar or refusing to leave at 10pm - but the pub itself could be fined up to £10,000.
Takeaway restaurants must shut by 10pm but will be allowed to deliver.
The guidance states: "Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service or drive-thru."
Mirror Online understands that there will be no individual fines for punters who stand at the bar at pubs or restaurants, with the venues themselves being responsible for making sure customers are at a table when eating or drinking.
People will not be allowed to buy a drink - or food - and consume it outside a venue, if they are not sat at a table. Food and drink must be ordered and served at a table, whether that is inside the venue or on outdoor seating.
Licensed hospitality venues must provide a table service, meaning that food and drink must be ordered and served at a table – that applies inside and outside.
The Government has sought to make it easier for licensed venues to add additional outside seating, through the fast-track ‘pavement licence’ process in the Business and Planning Act 2020.
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Pubs, bars and restaurants will be fined or face closure for breaches of the new guidance. Fines will start at £1,000 and rise to £10,000 for repeat offences, with local authorities being given the power to shut down those that do not comply.
It is unclear how this guidance affects hotels, but more specific guidance for specific sectors is set to be released ahead of the rules coming into force.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to refuse entry or service to customers who refuse to provide NHS Test and Trace data.
Customers in hospitality settings must wear face coverings, apart from when they are eating or drinking, from September 24.
Businesses selling food or drink - including, cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants - social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades - and other indoor leisure centres or facilities - funfairs, theme parks, and adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls will be required to closed between 10pm and 5am from September 24.
Some exemptions apply, including cinemas, theatres and concert halls which have started shows before 10pm, however they will not be allowed to serve food or drink to customers after 10pm.