Parliament Bars To Stay Open After 10pm Coronavirus Curfew
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Parliament's bars and restaurants are remaining open beyond the 10pm curfew, it has now emerged.
Yep, while a large chunk of the country is in lockdown, and London is on the UK's watch-list due to its rapidly rising coronavirus cases, MPs are still able to gather to enjoy a tipple out of hours, because their bar is classes as "workplace canteen".
The loophole comes after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, specified that "workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food".
To add insult to injury, visitors in the parliament bars won't be required to adhere to the strict face covering rules the rest of the country has been subjected to, The Times reports.
MPs also won't be expected to supply a name or a phone number in order to enter the bars.
Instead, a team will be tasked with logging coronavirus cases in Parliament.
The differing rules come despite the regulations in place for the rest of the country, stipulating that all bars, pubs and restaurants must close between 10pm-5am from Thursday (24th September), and a face mask should be worn whenever somebody is not at the table, eating or drinking.
The bars in parliament that have re-opened include Strangers' Dining Room, Pugin Room, the Adjournment and the Members' Smoking Room.
An insider told The Times that their exemptions from the rules have been viewed as a "massive own goal".
The House of Commons confirmed that current rules in Parliament are under review, but confirmed the reports that they were exempt.
They did add, however: "We continue to follow social distancing and cleaning measures as a Covid-secure workplace in order to reduce the transmission of the disease through social distancing signage, one way systems, socially distanced seating arrangements, contactless payments, marshalling and additional cleaning."
*UPDATE* Shortly after this article was published, parliament explained that bars on the premises would now be banning alcohol after 10pm, following backlash. They added that catering of food would still be permitted if the House sits later.