UK govt wary over debate on pub snacks COVID-19 policy

Source: AFP Published: 2020/12/2 18:58:41

A waiter serves customers at a restaurant in Barcelona on Monday. Photo: AFP

It's a hard-boiled issue that has hinted at cracks in UK government policy: Does a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and battered with bread crumbs constitute a "substantial meal?"

The curious row about scotch eggs comes as England prepares to lift its latest coronavirus restrictions and allows people to visit the pub again.

New rules lay out plans for hospitality venues to stay open until 11:00 pm but to serve alcohol only alongside a "substantial meal."

UK Environment Secretary said scotch eggs would constitute a meal "if there were table service," but Cabinet Office Secretary appeared to poach the issue, saying it was only a starter. 

Downing Street, currently otherwise engaged with last-gasp Brexit trade negotiations and firefighting the economic turmoil from the pandemic, was dragged into the debate.

"We've been clear," Prime Minister's spokesperson told reporters wearily, "Bar snacks do not count as a substantial meal but it's a well-established practice in the hospitality industry."


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