Downing Street has confirmed that while under Tier 2 restrictions, restaurants will be free to serve tables of any size – provided diners are all from one household or social bubble.
Asked by the Standard to clarify the Tier 2 restrictions, a spokesperson for Number 10 said: "Under tier two, you can visit hospitality venues inside only with your household or support bubble, and you need to order a substantial meal. [There is] no specific limit on numbers."
While – as the spokesperson makes clear – household mixing indoors is explicitly banned under the new Tier 2 rules, the news means large households or support bubbles may all dine out together, and bookings will not be bound to groups of six or fewer. Bizarrely, however, those dining outdoors will have to abide by the rule of six.
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Restaurants are not required by law to ask for proof that groups are all from one household.
The news comes as it appears business lunches in restaurants will once again technically be permitted. A Government spokesperson confirmed to the Standard that the likes of self-employed workers and freelancers, who may not have a workplace to conduct business, would be able to do so in a hospitality setting.
Other rules announced by Matt Hancock this morning include a revised curfew – now 11pm, with last orders at 10pm – and a measure to prevent pubs and bars opening, unless they operate as restaurants. The full Tier 2 restrictions relevant to eating and drinking out can be read here.
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