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10 million Brits rush for discounted meals in first week of new scheme

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Customers line up outside a Harringay restaurant.

By Edward Rowe,

Millions of people up and down the UK have taken advantage of the government’s “eat out to help out” scheme. Over 10.5 million people enjoyed half-price meals at the treasury’s expense in the first week since the programme was introduced.

The policy, which was launched by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to support restaurants, cafes and the hospitality industry, offers 50% off dine-in meals and soft drinks at cafes, restaurants and pubs from Monday to Wednesday throughout the month of August. The discount can be used an unlimited number of times.

Culinary hot spots in Britain’s major cities such as London’s Edgware Road, Brick Lane and Harringay High Street, commonly known as the capital’s “Little Turkey” as well as Manchester’s Curry Mile attracted thousands of people each day.

Staff at a Harringay restaurant don personal protective equipment while serving customers.

Over 83,000 restaurants signed up to the programme, and many participating eateries have been at their busiest for years in the last few days alone. Large groups of customers have been forming long queues in front of restaurants, eager to make use of the discounted meals.

The chancellor has hailed the scheme’s high uptake as “amazing” and praised large numbers of Britons for “eating out to help out.” “And they aren’t just getting a great deal – they’re supporting the almost 2 million people employed in this sector,” he added.

Customers have flocked to restaurants to make use of their “eat out to help out” discounts.

However, concerns about increasing coronavirus infections have been raised due to the unwillingness of some diners to adhere strictly to social distancing guidelines, as well as restaurants’ inability to enforce them.  

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