Government outlines support for pubs, cafes and restaurants

More pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to serve customers outdoors in plans announced by the government.

The government will simplify and reduce the costs of the licensing process for outdoor seating and stalls, making it easier for people to safely drink and dine outside. 

Proposed planning freedoms will mean that outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales or summer fairs will not need a planning application, which will transform the way people shop and socialise.  

Pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas, using their existing seating licenses.

Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises. Customers will be able to buy their drinks from a pub and consume them elsewhere, making social distancing easier.

This Bill is the next step to enable people to socialise this summer and enjoy the best of British hospitality in a COVID-secure way – helping businesses get back up and running and employees return to work.

transaction at a stall

Business Secretary Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP said: “Our pubs, restaurants and cafes are the lifeblood of high streets and town centres across the country and we are doing all we can to ensure they can bounce back as quickly and safely as possible.  

“This week we gave our vital hospitality sector the green light to reopen from 4 July, and we are introducing new legislation to enable businesses to make the most of the crucial summer months ahead.”

Changes for the hospitality industry introduced by the government will:   

  • reduce the consultation period for applications for pavement licences from 28 calendar days to five working days, and grant consent after 10 working days if the council does not issue a decision
  • set a lower application fee for a pavement and street cafe licence of up to £100
  • remove the need for a planning application for outdoor markets and marquees, meaning they can be set up for longer
  • provide more freedoms for areas to hold car-boot sales and summer fairs

Councils will need to continue to ensure their communities are consulted on licensing applications, that waste is disposed of responsibly, and that access to pavements and pedestrianised areas is not compromised. 

Today’s announcement follows a new £50 million fund to support local high streets introduced last month and the government’s decision to extend the working hours of construction sites in order to get the country building again.

The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures in a move to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops.

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