Making a meal of it – England’s pubs ponder pasties to beat lockdown curbs

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LONDON (Reuters) – Pub owners across England’s COVID-19 hotspots were on Tuesday pondering a question that could decide if they survive or sink due to the coronavirus lockdown – when is a pub a pub, and when does it become a restaurant?

The question has sparked a bizarre discussion about some of England’s favourite snacks: fries, chips and pork scratchings – roasted pork rind – do not count as a meal, according to a government minister quizzed on the status of the delicacies.

But Cornish pasties, a much-loved meat and vegetable pie that dates back to England’s ancient tin mines, do count as a meal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a new tiered system of restrictions for England on Monday, with Liverpool and the surrounding Merseyside placed in the highest level, with pubs shut, to curb an acceleration in COVID-19 cases.

But under the government’s published advice, pubs can stay open in such areas “where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal.”

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