OXFORD pubs that sell scotch eggs have reacted to the announcement by Government ministers that the meaty snacks do count as a 'substantial meal', meaning they can reopen under Tier 2 rules tomorrow.

The Star off Cowley Road, the Kings Arms on Broad Street and The Punter on Osney Island are among the city pubs which sell scotch eggs.

However, the Fir Tree pub on Iffley Road said that even selling scotch eggs, it still did not think it would be able to reopen.

Tier 2 restrictions mean that people can only buy alcohol if the pub serves 'substantial meals' with it. 

Gus Rogers, the new owner of The Star pub, on Rectory Road, told the Oxford Mail: "The scotch egg thing is ridiculous - but if the government says we need scotch eggs we will get scotch eggs."

Oxfordshire will enter Tier 2 restrictions tomorrow when the nationwide lockdown ends. 

Michael Gove told LBC this morning that two scotch eggs would be classed as a 'starter'.  

Environmental Secretary George Eustice also said yesterday that a scotch egg is a 'substantial meal'. 

Wet-led pubs around Oxfordshire have been reacting to this news and told the Oxford Mail how they have changed how they run to fit the new Tier 2 restrictions. 

Mr Gove elaborated on why a scotch egg counts as a meal.

He said: "A couple of scotch eggs is a starter as far as I am concerned, but I do recognise that there is with a pickle on the side, but there is, to be serious, there is a well-understood definition of what a substantial meal is."

Mr Rogers said his pub, which usually functions as a wet-led pub, will now have caterers serving food so they can provide customers with a 'substantial meal'.

He said: "We've managed to get some caterers in who are going to be doing a pop-up kitchen.

"They are called Cliq catering and from Benson. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday out of the front with a big smoker barbeque, and the rest of the week we are buying scotch eggs, sausage rolls, and samosas, and we are going to be making 'substantial meal boxes'. 

"They are proper chefs. We tried to get the kitchen together in time but we did not have the budget."

Mr Rogers also commented that the Tier 2 restrictions on serving alcohol created a great disadvantage for wet-led pubs.

He added: "It is unfair to wet-led pubs without kitchens like us because most people want to come to have a couple of pints, they don't want to get hammered and start touching either and spreading the virus. 

"It does benefit big pubs like Wetherspoons." 

David Richardson, Oxford CAMRA spokesman, said the scotch egg rule 'may or may not' be a good plan. 

He said: "It seems ministers are looking at ways of implicitly encouraging landlords to get around the rules, which may or may not be a good idea.

"Some pubs don't even have kitchens, and sourcing qualified chefs may still be a problem, although so many chefs are presumably available. 

"I'll be going to the pub on Thursday with every intention of spinning out my meal as long as possible - I am a very slow eater. 

"But if I was a landlord unable to offer food, I might invest in a microwave and a supply of ready meals so I can welcome back my customers."

Other wet-led pubs still do not see the scotch egg rule as a benefit. 

Joe Hill, the landlord at The Fir Tree, on Iffley Road, did not see the scotch egg rule as a viable option to reopen the pub. 

The Fir Tree has been shut since the first national lockdown in March.

It was planning to finally reopen in November but the second national lockdown meant it could not. 

Mr Hill said: "I spoke to my business manager this week and with his backing, we are not going to open on Wednesday.

"Food for us is a small percentage of our turnover and to try and reinvent ourselves as a food-led pub overnight is not going to happen.

"We are more of a boozer, a wet-led pub, it is not viable, which is a shame because we were going to reopen at the beginning of November."

Mr Hill also highlighted that wet-led pubs were at a disadvantage. 

He added: "It is going to be tricky for a lot of businesses. A nice couple or a nice family can come and have a meal, but not just sit down for a drink. 

"The problem has been the reopening and closing, the opening and shutting of pubs. We are worried about stock wastage, restrictions affecting income, the knock-on effect on your staff. It is all guesswork. 

"I just want clarity. If they said pubs and restaurants are closed until February 1st, we know how to move foreward, but it is this stop-start nature that is affecting a lot of us."