New legislation will allow pubs and bars to serve takeaway drinks, and restaurants to offer outdoor dining in a bid to help reopen the hospitality sector.
New laws to save the hospitality industry
On Thursday 25 June, Ministers introduced a new bill to parliament that temporarily changes the strict licensing laws that pubs and restaurants currently operate under.
The government states that this bill “introduces a streamlined and cheaper route for businesses such as cafes, restaurants and bars to secure a licence to place furniture on the highway.”
This will allow more pubs and restaurants to open while safe social distancing measures are adhered to, and will provide “income over the summer months and protect as many hospitality jobs as possible.”
Under these new rules, licenced premises will be able to turn their car parks and terraces into temporary beer gardens, with the likes of pubs being able to set up tables and chairs on pavements to serve customers.
‘One metre plus’ social distancing rule
The announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers will be able to open across England from 4 July.
Johnson also told MPs on Tuesday 23 June that the social distancing guidelines have been reduced from two metres to “one metre plus”.
The relaxation of the two metre rule means that somewhere between 60 and 75 per cent of businesses will be able to reopen, whereas before only 30 per cent of the hospitality sector was expected to reopen.
Which businesses are eligible for the new licence?
A business which uses, or proposes to use, its premises for the sale of food and drink for consumption (on or off the premises) can apply for a new licence. The government states that eligible businesses include public houses, cafes, bars, restaurants, snack bars, coffee shops and ice cream parlours.
Furniture which may be used by businesses includes:
- Counters or stalls for selling or serving food or drink
- Tables, counters or shelves on which food or drink can be placed
- Chairs, benches or other forms of seating
- Umbrellas, barriers, heaters and other articles used in connection with the outdoor consumption of food or drink
It is explained that the furniture is required to be removable.
How can a business apply for the new licence?
An application must be made to your local authority.
- Specify the premises and the part of the relevant highway to which the application relates
- Specify the purpose for which the furniture will be used, which must be to sell or serve food or drink, and/or for use by other people for the consumption of food or drink - in both cases, the food or drink must be supplied from, or in connection with, relevant use of the premises
- Specify the days of the week on which and the horse between which it is proposed to have furniture on the highway
- Describe the type or furniture to which the application relates - for example, tables, chairs, stalls etc.
- Specify the date on which the application is made
- Contain or be accompanied by such evidence of public liability insurance in respect of anything to be done pursuant to the licence as the authority may require
- Contain or be accompanied by such other information or material as the local authority may require
While application fees will be set locally, they will be capped at a maximum of £100.
The licence will remain in place for a year but will not extend beyond 30 September 2021.