Scotch egg counts as ‘substantial meal’ in Tier 2, says minister
Drinkers could order a Scotch egg with their pint to get around the Tier 2 restrictions in England, a Cabinet minister has suggested.
George Eustice said the snack would constitute a "substantial meal" under the rules which will only allow alcohol to be served with food in Tier 2 areas from Wednesday.
More than 57 per cent of England’s population will be in the middle tier, with severe restrictions imposed on pubs.
In the harsher Tier 3, affecting more than 41 per cent of the population, pubs and restaurants can only operate on a takeaway or delivery basis.
Environment Secretary Mr Eustice said the "substantial meal" provision in Tier 2 was "understood very much by the restaurant trade".
He told LBC Radio: "I think a Scotch egg probably would count as a substantial meal if there were table service.
"Often that might be as a starter but yes I think it would, but this is a term that’s understood in licensing since it is, you can have the concept of a table licence for alcohol that also requires you to serve a substantial meal.
"That is the model that is being followed."
Mr Eustice also said customers at restaurants and pubs in Tier 2 will be allowed to finish their drinks.
He told Sky News: “I think you can finish your drink provided you’re at a table and you’ve had a drink with a meal then, of course, you can finish your drink as well.
“What you probably couldn’t do is have a small meal and then sit at the table all night ordering drink.”
The Beer and Pub Association has estimated that 14,000 of the 21,000 pubs in Tier 2 areas will remain shut because they cannot serve meals or do not believe it is financially viable to open.
Mr Eustice’s advice contradicts a warning by the Government last week that pub-goers in Tier 2 must leave after finishing their "substantial meal".
A Government official stated on Friday that there should be “no lingering”, and visitors must leave “once their meal is finished”.