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Pandemic dining discount taken off UK tables

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The British government is urging diners to keep going out to eat after the end of a popular government scheme offering half-price food in restaurants.

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The “Eat out to Help Out” initiative was designed to boost a hospitality sector that has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

It offered 50 per cent off the price of meals on the first three days of the week at participating restaurants, up to a maximum of STG10 ($A18), with the government making up the difference.

So popular has it been that more than 64 million meals were eaten under the scheme up to August 27, according to the Open Table online booking website. It is due to end on August 31.

“The scheme reminded us why we as a nation love dining out and I urge diners to maintain the momentum to help continue our economic recovery,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a national lockdown in March and the Treasury said on Monday about 80 per cent of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.

Several restaurant chains have already said they will continue offering the discount in September.

-AAP

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