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Diners get 50% off bills as Eat Out to Help Out scheme launches

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The government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme has launched today providing diners with 50% off bills at thousands of restaurants, pubs and cafes.

The 50% discount scheme applies to sit-down meals in participating outlets from Monday to Wednesday each week throughout August. Diners should see stickers and posters in the windows of participating outlets.

It’s valid on all food and non-alcoholic drinks; there’s no minimum spend, and the discount can be used at the same time as other offers and discounts. Customers won’t need to present a voucher – the discount will be shown on the bill. Groups can also use the scheme and diners can take advantage of the offer as many times as they like during the month.

However, each diner can claim a maximum discount of £10 per head and businesses will then be able to claim the money back from the government.

Popular chains such as Pizza Express, Nando’s and Costa Coffee are taking part as well as independent outlets. In total, more than 70,000 have signed up. See the Eat Out to Help Out restaurant finder for the full list.

Last month as part of the government’s ‘mini budget’, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the landmark Eat Out to Help Out scheme in a bid to boost the UK’s hospitality sector which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.

‘We’ll pay half’

Chancellor of the exchequer, 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.

“More than 72,000 establishments will be serving discounted meals across the country, with the government paying half the bill. 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.”

The government added that while people may be worried about returning to eat out, businesses have made premises and processes ‘Covid-19 secure’ by installing protective screens, accepting contactless payments, observing social distancing as well as one-way walking systems, taking online bookings only and reducing capacity.

Eat out to Help Out forms part of the government’s £30bn ‘plan for jobs’ to support and create employment. Sunak also announced a VAT cut from 20% to 5% for tourism and hospitality.

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