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UK Government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme comes to an end

UK Government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme comes to an end

The last meals discounted through the UK Government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme are being served this evening as the month of August draws to a close.

The scheme has seen people across the country enjoy 50% off their bill for food and soft drinks for sit-in meals every Monday - Wednesday during August (up to £10 discount per person per meal) in participating food outlets.

Businesses that participated in the government's scheme by offering the discount have been able to claim back the discounted amounts, with around 84,000 outlets thought to have taken part. The latest data from the Treasury revealed that claims had been made for more than 64 million meals through the scheme.

The scheme, which was designed to get more people to eat out again after lockdown, has been widely viewed as a large success and has been praised by much of the restaurant and dining sector.

Many restaurants were fully-booked at times, displaying the level of attraction added to eating out by the discount scheme.

Though many restaurants have seen sales at record or record-breaking levels during the scheme, restaurants and outlets in some locations have still struggled, with much of Britain's workforce still working from home and away from city centre offices.

The Eat Out To Help Out scheme ends at midnight on Monday, however, a growing number of restaurants have announced discounts for the month of September in order to try and attract more diners, with some offering the same 50% discount but paying for it out of their own funds.

Some members of the public are still apprehensive about eating out, with the COVID-19 Coronavirus still in general circulation in the UK and the number of infections continuing to rise each day. 

To try and protect staff and customers from the virus, restaurants and cafes have had to comply with COVID-secure guidelines, including reducing the number of human contacts and in many cases, reducing seating capacity to better allow for social distancing. These measures, along with investing in safety equipment, have made it an even more challenging time for the sector financially after months of lockdown.

Despite calls for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to be extended, the Government has not indicated any plans to extend it. Beyond the scheme though, a temporary cut in VAT to 5% will continue for the hospitality sector into 2021.

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