This is the only place you can get a pint legally after 10pm

Clea Skopeliti
·2-min read
The government has imposed a 10pm curfew on hospitality venues with few exceptions (PA)
The government has imposed a 10pm curfew on hospitality venues with few exceptions (PA)

When the UK government imposed new coronavirus restrictions on hospitality venues last week, the 10pm curfew meant last orders came earlier than the usual for most.

However, a single exemption to the new rule has since been spotted: cafes and restaurants in motorway service stations are allowed to stay open past the curfew.

In practice, this means only one venue is licensed to sell alcohol past the curfew, as there is only one pub across England’s service stations.

The JD Wetherspoons pub, the Hope and Champion near Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, opened in 2014 and faced criticism from safety and health campaigners who warned it would encourage drink-driving.

The pub, which is part of the service station off the M40, closes at 11pm — just one hour after the national cut-off time.

The exemption was highlighted by The Sun, which sent a reporter to have a pint past the national curfew, and was told that he was in the "only legally open pub serving after 10pm”.

It comes after the government was forced to U-turn after it emerged that bars in the House of Commons were also allowed to keep serving past 10pm, as they had been designated “workplace canteens”.

The decision to exempt parliament from the government’s rules was condemned as “appalling” by one Conservative MP.

George Freeman, MP for Mid Norfolk, wrote on Twitter: “Parliament’s bars exempt from 10pm curfew? Appalling decision — had no idea. This sort of thing is what brings Parliament into disrepute. Who makes these decisions? The Speaker’s Commission? Will look into it."

Shortly after the exemption was made public by a report in The Times, parliament changed the rule for the estate’s hospitality venues, stating that “catering facilities (but no selling of alcohol) will remain open later when the House is sitting, to serve food for those still working and to support social distancing”.

The implementation of the new 10pm rule has been criticised by MPs as “ill thought-out” and “shambolic” after pictures emerged of packed trains and busy streets at closing time.

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