UK Parliament’s bars exempt from government’s 10 pm curfew

While pubs and restaurants are now legally required to shut at 10 p.m., there is still one place where a select few thirsty Britons can get a late-night drink -- the Houses of Parliament.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons in London, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.(AP photo)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons in London, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.(AP photo)
Updated on Sep 28, 2020 02:42 PM IST
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ByBloomberg | Posted by Niyati Singh

While pubs and restaurants are now legally required to shut at 10 p.m., there is still one place where a select few thirsty Britons can get a late-night drink -- the Houses of Parliament.

Westminster’s bars are exempt from new coronavirus regulations and can keep serving politicians and their staff alcohol after the curfew, the Times newspaper reported on Monday.

Across London, and the country, people are now forced out of pubs on to the streets at 10 p.m. sparking scenes of crowded outdoor revelry that appear to defeat the point of the new rules, which is to promote social distancing.

The official reason why Parliament’s bars are exempt is because they are classed as workplace canteens, according to the Times.

But the loophole may enhance the feeling of many Britons that there’s one rule for government officials, and another for the rest of the country -- a sentiment that’s persisted since Boris Johnson’s top aide, Dominic Cummings, drove the length of England during lockdown in order to get childcare support for his four-year-old son.

A House of Commons spokeswoman confirmed the exemption, but said staff follow social-distancing rules and regulations on cleaning to prevent transmission of the disease, according to the paper.

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