Week Ahead: Eat Out to Help Out begins as Meghan marks her 39th birthday

The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme is starting while Meghan Markle will be celebrating her birthday in the US. Chris Burn looks at the week ahead.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak places an 'Eat out to help out' sticker in the window of No.11 Downing Street in London, ahead of the new scheme encouraging customers to return to the hospitality industry. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Chancellor Rishi Sunak places an 'Eat out to help out' sticker in the window of No.11 Downing Street in London, ahead of the new scheme encouraging customers to return to the hospitality industry. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

RESTAURANT REVIVAL

Rishi Sunak’s much-discussed Eat Out to Help Out scheme offering people half-price meals at restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs - as well as work canteens and food halls - gets under way on Monday.  

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The initiative designed to revive trade and high street footfall in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic offers a 50 per cent discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in - up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner - every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between Monday, August 3 and the end of this month.

No vouchers are required and there is no minimum spend at participating venues who will apply the discount automatically, but alcoholic drinks are excluded from the offer. Establishments then claim a reimbursement from the Government for the discount they’ve given to diners.

The scheme is not without controversy, as it also includes fast food chains like McDonald’s and KFC. Last week, Number 10 denied that it was sending out mixed messages by clamping down on “buy one, get one free” promotions on unhealthy products while also launching this scheme.

“The Eat Out To Help Out scheme applies to all restaurants and people will be able to choose a range of healthy options from the menus if they are trying to lose weight,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

MEGHAN’S MOMENT

Meghan Markle turns 39 on Tuesday, but birthday wishes to the Duchess of Sussex in her new home of Los Angeles may be in short supply from some quarters of the Royal Family ahead of the publication of a new book about her and Harry next week.

Finding Freedom, which has been serialised by The Times and The Sunday Times and is due to be published on August 11, includes allegations that Harry was angered by what he perceived to be his brother the Duke of Cambridge’s “snobbish” attitude towards Meghan.

The authors have said relations between the Sussexes and the Cambridges grew so bitter that by March the couples were barely speaking.

A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said the couple did not contribute to the book, but he did not deny the content of The Times’s extracts.

He said: “This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”

TRICK SHOTS

All eyes will be on Sheffield as the snooker World Championships continues at the Crucible after becoming the first indoor sporting events to return with crowds after lockdown.

The tournament, which began on Friday, had intended to allow around 300 supporters to attend each session - despite some players being unhappy at the move. However, matches had to continue behind closed doors after Boris Johnson’s announcement on Friday putting the brakes on lockdown easing was made while the first spectators were at The Crucible.

Meanwhile, armchair football fans will be looking forward to welcoming back the Champions League and Europa League this week, with Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves all in action.

SWIMMING AHEAD

One of Yorkshire’s most popular - and picturesque - swimming pools is reopening from Monday. Bramley Baths in Leeds is implementing a phased return.

Among those planning a dip is local MP Rachel Reeves, who said on Saturday: “I have missed my regular swims in its fantastic surroundings and cannot wait for my trip next week.”

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