No more free food at Preston's pubs, says council, as new Tier 3 rules are fully explained

There will be no more free food on offer at Preston's pubs, says the city council, after it was forced to clarify the new rules governing pubs and bars under Tier 3 lockdown.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 3:02 pm

The city's licensing team has now published its full guidance on how Preston's pubs must operate under the strict new conditions which came into force on Friday (October 16).

It said it will be visiting the city's venues at "regular intervals" to check that they are complying and warned landlords that it will take a "robust approach" with those found to be flouting the rules.

It comes after popular student pub, Ships and Giggles, began serving free food to try and retain customers and keep it open under Tier 3 lockdown.

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The offer of free and unlimited platters of chicken wings and chips had been well received by pub goers at the Ships and Giggles in Fylde Road, Preston

The pub in Fylde Road had been dishing out free and unlimited platters of chicken wings and chips, unaware that this was not permitted under the new rules.

But the free food offer soon roused the suspicions of Preston City Council's licensing team, and pub owner Andy Mac has now been asked to stop giving food away.

Since Tier 3 came into force in Lancashire last week, a number of traditionally non-food serving pubs have introduced new menus as they strive to stay open.

The Post asked the council for clarification on how pubs should operate under the new regulations.

The Ships and Giggles pub is situated in the heart of the city's student quarter in Fylde Road, Preston

This is what Preston City Council said

Councillor Peter Moss, deputy leader and cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: "We understand and are mindful that the changes to the hospitality industry as part of the Tier 3 restrictions are challenging for many businesses.

"While we can appreciate the difficulty this is causing and innovative solutions are being developed, we all have to work within the regulations set by Government.

"According to the current guidelines, a reasonable amount of alcohol may be purchased to accompany a meal – one that may be expected to be served at a table, as a main meal.

Preston City Council has provided guidance to pubs and bars, with advice on how they must operate under the new Tier 3 conditions

"The restrictions prevent excessive amounts of alcohol to be purchased and consumed with that meal, or long after the food has been eaten."

Coun Moss added: "We are currently updating our website with the full criteria, as outlined by Government.

"Our environmental health team, working with Lancashire Constabulary, visit premises throughout Preston at regular intervals checking compliance with Covid safety standards.

"We will continue this work to ensure regulatory standards are met.

"We would much rather support and work with businesses but, where necessary, we will not hesitate to take a robust approach."

This is what amounts to a 'substantial pub meal' under Tier 3

The 'meal' must amount to more than a 'bar snack', said the council, adding that it does not consider a sandwich with crisps or other such snacks, including pies and sausage rolls, to be a substantial meal.

Examples of a substantial meal include:

- A pie with mashed potato and peas

- Lasagne with salad

- Burger with chips and salad

- Large pizza

- Curry with rice or naan bread

- 'Sunday roast' with carvery meat, roast potatoes and vegetables.

The meal must be purchased by the customer at the premises and when purchasing the meal the customer may also purchase alcohol.

This means that premises cannot provide free food to accompany alcohol that has been purchased.

A reasonable amount of alcohol may be purchased to accompany a meal.

But allowing the purchase of copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed with the meal, or with the intention that the alcohol is likely to be consumed long after the food has been eaten, is not allowed.

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Preston pub Ships and Giggles serves free food to help it stay open during Tier ...

You can find the newly published guidance on how pubs and bars should operate under Tier 3 here.

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