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Off-Licenses Are Now ‘Essential Retailers’ as Supermarkets Run Low on Booze

Off-licenses and shops retailing alcohol are now allowed to remain open during the U.K.’s coronavirus lockdown

United Kingdom - London - Off Licence In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

Off-licenses have been added to the government’s list of essential retailers allowed to remain open during the lockdown announced on Monday evening, which is designed to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the U.K.

The list was updated to include those businesses licensed to sell alcohol — including newsagents, beer, wine, and spirits shops — for retail yesterday afternoon after reports of supermarkets running dry of booze as people rush to stock up.

A full list of those “essential retail” businesses allowed to remain open up to and until the government’s review of the new lockdown measures in three weeks include:

  • Supermarkets and other food shops
  • Pharmacies
  • Off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries
  • Post offices
  • Banks
  • Newsagents
  • Bicycle shops
  • Petrol stations
  • Car garages
  • Home and hardware stores
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners
  • Pet shops

For a directory of food and drinks shops open or delivering in London — many of which include meat, fish, fruit and vegetable, and wine suppliers to the best London restaurants — which Eater London will continue to update as the situation develops, see here.