Catering availability (2020)
- In light of the current situation are the bars closed in Parliament (selling alcohol) ?
- And restaurants open ?
Please note that our response only deals with catering venues for which the House of Commons is responsible. Some venues are the responsibility of the House of Lords, which is a separate public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act. You may wish to consider forwarding your request to them. Requests for information relating to the House of Lords should be directed to FOILORDS@parliament.uk.
- In light of the current situation are the bars closed in Parliament (selling alcohol)?
This information is held by the House of Commons. The sale of alcohol in licenced catering venues on the parliamentary estate managed by the House of Commons has now been suspended in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It may interest you to know that since your request, the Speaker has confirmed this and that the decision was made on Friday 20 March and published in Hansard.
- And restaurants open?
We have interpreted your request to be for information confirming whether and to what extent restaurants on the estate managed by the House of Commons are open during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This information is held by the House of Commons. The catering service on the parliamentary estate has been limited in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with some venues closing and some remaining open with a restricted service. Currently the number of catering outlets open as of 24 March are the Member's Tea Room, Members Dining Room, Terrace Cafeteria, Debate Cafeteria and the Despatch Box.
Further to both of your questions above, it may interest you to know that, Parliament's catering outlets continue to operate in complete compliance with Government recommendations. It is important for our key workers to have access to adequate cafeteria facilities whilst they continue to perform critical roles which allow Parliament to fulfil its constitutional duties during an unprecedented time. As a workplace, the House has already taken several steps that encourage social distancing measures, reduce touch points and ensure responsible hygiene practice in our catering outlets. These include:
• Closing all other venues
• Temporarily suspending the use of personal cups and mugs in barista served coffee areas
• Switching to card payments only
• Supplying additional hand sanitiser for staff and customers
• Removal of self-service breakfast, hot food and salads
• Increasing social distancing by partial removal of furniture across outlets
• Encouraging use of take-away options where appropriate