Eat out to help out: Coronavirus scheme offering UK diners 50% off begins
Diners across the UK will be able to enjoy half-price meals throughout August from Monday, as part of a government scheme aimed at boosting restaurants and pubs post-lockdown.
“Eat out to help out” applies to eat-in food and drink on Monday to Wednesdays at more than 72,000 venues.
The discount is capped at £10 per person and does not apply to alcohol.
But critics said unhealthy food should have been excluded from the scheme, over fears it could fuel obesity.
HM Revenue and Customs boss Jim Harra has also warned the scheme may not offer value for money for taxpayers.
The scheme is designed to encourage people to visit restaurants, cafes and pubs, which have been badly hit by the lockdown.
Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed – the highest of any sector – according to government data.
Many venues which have reopened since 4 July have also been forced to operate at a lower capacity to comply with social distancing rules.
The offer only applies at participating eateries in areas of the UK that are not in local lockdown – but major chains including Pizza Express, Costa Coffee, McDonald’s and Nando’s are among the 72,000 to have signed-up.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our ‘eat out to help out’ scheme’s number one aim is to help protect the jobs of 1.8 million chefs, waiters and restaurateurs by boosting demand and getting customers through the door.
“The industry is a vital ingredient to our economy and it’s been hit hard by coronavirus, so enjoy summer safely by showing your favourite places your support – we’ll pay half.”