Experts explain what a 'substantial meal' means as new pub rules come into place in England

24 November 2020, 11:39

What do you class as a substantial meal?
What do you class as a substantial meal? Picture: Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Boris Johnson announced this week that pubs, restaurants and bars in Tier 2 will only be able to serve alcohol alongside a 'substantial meal', but what does that mean?

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out the plans for an updated three-tier system for England when lockdown ends on December 2.

In tier 3, pubs and restaurants will only be allowed to open for takeaway meals only and in tier 1 there should be table service and they must close at 11pm.

READ MORE: Full list of businesses set to reopen from December 2 when lockdown ends

Tier 2 areas will only be allowed to consume alcohol in pubs, bars and restaurants alongside a substantial meal
Tier 2 areas will only be allowed to consume alcohol in pubs, bars and restaurants alongside a substantial meal. Picture: Getty

In tier 2, however, the rules state that bars, restaurants and bars can reopen, but can only serve alcohol alongside a 'substantial meal'.

This, of course, has raised question of what a 'substantial meal' means.

Good Morning Britain's resident doctor Dr Hilary explained on Lorraine that he thinks a 'substantial meal' is a starter and a main.

Government guidance describes a 'substantial meal' as "like a main lunchtime or evening meal"
Government guidance describes a 'substantial meal' as "like a main lunchtime or evening meal". Picture: Getty

Talking to presenter Lorraine Kelly, Dr Hilary said: "If you want to go out to eat, you can, to a pub or restaurant, but you have to have a substantial meal to have alcohol with it."

When Lorraine replied: "I don't know what that means", Dr Hilary said: "I think it means a starter and a main, probably. To me, that's what a substantial meal is."

Dr Hilary considers a 'substantial meal' a starter and a main
Dr Hilary considers a 'substantial meal' a starter and a main. Picture: Getty

Government guidance describes a 'substantial meal' as "like a main lunchtime or evening meal".

Clearing up the confusion more, the Department for Health and Social Care rules out crisps as a meal.

Speaking on the rules, they told Nottingham Live: "It is clear that there is a difference between a meal and a snack, such as crisps.

“There is no prescribed limit for how long a meal is expected to take, however we expect people to act reasonably, and for venues to take action to prevent people flouting the rules.

“Venues will face enforcement action from local authorities where they fail to comply."

READ MORE: Top 10 coronavirus hotspots that could go into tier 3 when lockdown ends