January 19, 2021

Coronavirus: Off-licences added to list of ‘essential’ retailers

Off-licences have been added to the government’s list of essential UK retailers allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

The list was updated on Wednesday amid increasing reports supermarkets are selling out of some beers and wines.

A major pub chain has said “almost all” its business had gone to supermarkets.

The move came as bicycle and car parts retailer Halfords had to defend its decision to keep shops open.

The list of essential retailers put together by the Cabinet Office now includes “off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries”, although the decision is under review in Northern Ireland.

Pubs and restaurants have been required to close under the new restrictions, prompting complaints from the head of Wetherspoons pub chain, Tim Martin, who said that most of the chain’s trade had gone to supermarkets.

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