Government could limit UK pub drinkers to two pints when lockdown lifts


Britons could be limited to two or three drinks when pubs reopen, a government adviser has suggested.

Eyal Winter, who is working with the Government on plans for easing the national lockdown, said businesses would need to enforce strict social distancing measures once blanket closures are lifted.

Mr Winter, an economist at Lancaster University, told the Guardian that ministers are deeply concerned that pubs will get very full as the public let loose after weeks of confinement at home. 

“People are starving for pubs,” he told the paper. “They are an important part of British culture.”

He said pub landlords and shop owners would likely have to monitor customer numbers to ensure safe distancing between individuals.

One solution for keeping people out of bars would be to ration beer to two or three pints per person before politely asking punters to go home, he suggested.

The behavioural expert, who has been advising the cabinet office since April, also predicted that cinemas and theatres would need to ensure gaps between seats, meaning they would sell half as many tickets as before.

Therefore, they may need to hike up prices in order to cover revenue losses.

Airlines would likely introduce a similar empty “middle-seat” policy on planes Mr Winter said, with a “low version of social distancing” introduced on all public transport.

Taking an optimistic look ahead, Mr Winter said that he believed the world would return to its pre-virus state within two years – provided no new pandemics strike.

“It will take a lot of time to move back to January 2020, he said. “But we will get there.”