A Cornish pasty counts as a “substantial meal” which if served would allow a pub to remain open under the toughest local lockdowns in England – as long as it comes with chips or a salad.
Pubs across Merseyside are set to close from Wednesday as the Liverpool City Region becomes the first area to move into the “very high” alert level.
But they will be allowed to stay open and serve alcohol as long as drinks are bought with food.
Under the rules the food has to be a “substantial meal”, not just a packet of crisps.
Speaking to LBC on Tuesday morning, communities secretary Robert Jenrick was pressed to clarify what was allowed and what was not.
“Does a Cornish pasty count as a substantial meal?” he was asked.
“I think it could do, yeah. I mean, you can go to a restaurant and have a Cornish pasty, can’t you, for lunch,” Jenrick said.
“If you would expect to go into that restaurant normally, or pub, and order a plated meal at the table of a Cornish pasty with chips or side salad or whatever it comes with, then that’s a normal meal,” he said.
“This isn’t actually as unusual a concept as you might feel. We’ve had this in law for licence holders for a long time because it’s the same rule that has applied if you take a minor into a pub.
“You can’t do so unless they have a substantial meal alongside the alcoholic drinks, so people who actually run pubs and bars will be familiar with this and know how to operate it.”
MPs will debate and vote on the system on Tuesday and, should it be approved, the tiers will come into effect on Wednesday.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.