New licensing rules introduced to help hospitality sector trade safely
Local businesses are now able to benefit from new legislation making it easier for them to adopt social distancing measures and reopen safely, following the disruption of temporary business closures and the wider lockdown measures.
“Whilst many businesses have struggled through loss of revenue during the initial lockdown period, the hospitality sector has suffered particularly due to the nature of the environment they operate in and the overriding need to protect customers and staff.
“We understand that with social distancing measures in place, the number of people able to visit pubs, restaurants and bars has been reduced and being able to use any outdoor space outside their premises can significantly boost business.
“Whilst licenses for premises are set out in statute, new legislation called the Business and Planning Act 2020 has recently been passed which will make it easier and cheaper for cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars to be able to apply to the council for a licence to use their immediate outdoor space to seat and serve customers outdoors.
“We have worked quickly to introduce a new online application process to support our hospitality sector to apply for a ‘Pavement Licence’ which allows the placement and use of tables and chairs on adjacent footpaths and streets, whilst also ensuring that any concerns about public safety and enforcement are addressed.”
“Whilst supporting the borough’s businesses on the road to recovery is very important, we do not want to lose sight of the needs of our residents, many of whom live in close proximity to these venues.
“We want to reassure our community that while we will continue to support our hospitality sector to reopen safely, we are also working closely with residents, businesses and partner organisations to address any possible anti-social behaviour arising as the lockdown restrictions are eased.
“Our Frontline Presence Team and Community Presence Officers will be active in our local high streets and centres to make sure businesses are complying with new government guidelines with regards to social distancing”
The new easy-to-use online application process is available online on the council’s website.
Businesses applying for the new outdoor license, must display a public notice about the application in their shop-front window for seven days.
The council have also introduced a new email alert system for residents to receive notifications about new licensing applications in their area.
Once signed up, interested parties will have the opportunity to have their say on any applications and can also contact the council if they have any concerns about a new license.
You can find more information about the consultation requirements for a license on the council’s website, however in many cases, businesses may not need a license to make changes to their business operations.