Thousands of people warm up in Soho for Level 2 drinks outside of pubs and bars

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Thousands of pub hungry punters have flocked to Level 2 bars in droves the first weekend since the restrictions in England were lifted.

The drinkers braved the cold to gather outside in a cold Soho in groups of six.

After the London lockdown, temperatures dropped below 5C, but that wasn’t enough to stop thirsty patrons from socializing and catching up with friends.

The government’s new strategy to combat the spread of the coronavirus prohibits level 2 people from different households from mixing indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

But the “rule of 6” applies outdoors, and as long as partygoers in an area of ​​the same level or lower order a “substantial meal,” they don’t violate any rules.

Londoners are making the most of the first Saturday night since lockdown in cold Soho
(Image: Marcin Nowak / LNP)

The restrictions also mean that last orders must be called at 10 p.m. and theaters must close an hour later.

The other towns enjoying newfound freedom were Liverpool, Brighton, York and Bournemouth.

Those who live on level 3 still have to make do with take out as pubs and restaurants remain closed.

The definition of a substantial meal has left the 32 million people living at Level 2 scratching their heads.

At first it was defined in the government’s Covid Winter plan document as “as a full breakfast, a main lunch or an evening meal”.

Level 2 rules allow you to gather outdoors in groups of up to six
(Image: PA)

But Environment Secretary George Eustice and fellow minister Michael Gove confused each other by saying that a scotch egg was and was not substantial, respectively.

Michael Gove then backtracked, but the definition seemed to be left to business owners who the government said had used the term for years.

Once drinkers have finished eating, they can no longer order food, according to level 2 rules.

People living on level 1 do not have to follow the substantial meal rule, but pubs should operate as table service only establishments.

Earlier today, we reported that a punter apparently ordered 63 pints, 12 glasses of Prosecco and a single scotch chorizo ​​egg for £ 7.25 – although some believed that selective crops had been used.

Elsewhere, a bartender begged customers not to come to the pub unless they were hungry, as he revealed the shocking scale of wasted food that had been ordered and then untouched.

The last orders will be called at 10 p.m. and the rooms will close at 11 p.m.
(Image: Marcin Nowak / LNP)

He wrote: “Don’t go to the pub unless you are hungry. All that food went in the trash because three people each wanted two moretti.

“With everything in the news about people who depend on food banks and free school meals, it’s totally obscene.

“If you’re desperate to go or support a pub, go when you’re hungry.” Aside from the horrendous food waste I have witnessed over the past couple of days (scraping whole meals, intact, in the trash because bought them wanted a pint before taking the train home).

“You should really eat to be able to enjoy alcoholic drinks. While I can sort of see the rationale behind the rules, they are horribly vague and put bar staff in a difficult position. Each pub will interpret the rules differently. . Accept it. Please … ”

Two diners in London said they had been forced to order pizza to buy drinks.

But neither had planned to eat it and said they would probably give it to a homeless person once they had finished their drink.

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