Covid-19: Off-licenses considered ‘essential’ businesses by government

The government has added off-licenses to its list of retail businesses that can remain open following a ban to close all non-essential retailers to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

This also includes licenced shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries.

It comes after the prime minister instructed retailers and all restaurants, pubs, bars, theatres, cinemas and gyms to close their doors in a bid to halt the coronavirus’ spread.

Boris Johnson’s “instruction” to the British people echoes similar restrictions introduced in Italy and Spain, though do not go as far as those introduced in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, and where detention by authorities was also a part of the arsenal of state control.

Additionally, The chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has confirmed that the March Beer Duty payment will not be cancelled, leaving thousands of small independent breweries “under threat”.

This is according to the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), which called the chancellor’s decision to collect March’s Beer Duty payments as “incredibly disappointing” and a “huge blow” for the UK’s small independent brewers.

SIBA said brewers have been calling on the chancellor to “unilaterally” cancel the payment, due to be debited from bank accounts tomorrow (Wednesday 25 March).

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