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'Test and dine' could help tier three restaurants reopen

Birmingham City Council has put forward proposals for a new pilot scheme that would allow restaurants in tier three to reopen if diners take a rapid coronavirus test.

The 'test and dine' proposal, outlined by Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, during a regional coronavirus briefing on Friday, will enable diners to eat out within six hours of receiving a negative result, by-passing tier three restrictions.

The plan would require approval from the government and would start with a small number of restaurants initially. However, if successful, it could be extended to help other industries remain open during the pandemic, for example the arts and entertainment.

Describing the proposal as "an innovative way in which we can help these sectors", Councillor Ian Ward added: "It wouldn't cost the government any more than they are already spending and it may open up a solution not only here in Birmingham but across the country

"We are now waiting for government to give us an answer and we are very much pushing them to be positive about this.”

Currently under tier three rules, pubs and restaurants must close except for takeaway and delivery, while indoor entertainment venues must also shut.

More than 34 million people in England will be in tier three when new coronavirus restrictions come into effect from midnight tonight.

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