Eat out to help out: UK govt to pay 50% of food bills from today

A couple with three children go to a restaurant, relieved at being able to do so after months confined to homes, they have a good time and rack up a bill of £100 pounds, but the waiter smilingly asks them to pay only £50 pounds – the rest will be paid by the UK government.

Over 53,000 restaurants, cafes and other outlets have signed up to the unique ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme introduced by chancellor Rishi Sunak to help the restaurant industry almost crippled by the coronavirus pandemic as well as encourage moves towards a Covid-secure semblance of normalcy.

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Under the scheme, diners who eat-in (not applicable to takeaways) will benefit from a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks, any Monday to Wednesday throughout August. There is no limit to the number of times it can be availed on those days.

‘Eat Out to Help Out’ stickers and posters have been displayed in windows of participating restaurants, cafes, bars and other establishments across the UK as part of the scheme that begins on August 1. They will claim the 50% discount given to customers from the government on a weekly basis.

Sunak said: “Our restaurants, cafes and bars play a vital role in our economy, employing more than a million people. They have been hit hard by coronavirus, so it’s vital we do everything we can to help them recover”.

“Our ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme is designed to get more customers through the door – protecting jobs by giving businesses the confidence to retain and hire staff. More than 53,000 businesses across the country have already signed up”, he added.

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Eligible establishments are those in which food is sold for immediate on-premises consumption, such as restaurants; cafés; public houses that serve food; hotel restaurants; restaurants and cafes within tourist attractions, holiday sites and leisure facilities; dining rooms within members’ clubs; and workplace and school canteens.

The discount is not applicable to alcoholic drinks. If customers consume alcohol, the discount will only be applied to food and non-alcoholic items consumed up to the limit of £10 per person. An online restaurant finder tool enables diners to identify participating outlets within five miles of their location.

The outlets are required to maintain Covid-secure conditions in their establishments, including measures such as hand sanitisers, noting contact details of customers and rearranging furniture to ensure distancing between tables.

The scheme is one of the Boris Johnson government’s measures to begin to revive sectors of the economy while imposing local lockdown and restrictions in some cities where there has been a recent spike in new infections, such as Leicester and areas of north England.

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