Under current regulations businesses need planning permission to carry out a change of use to a hot food takeaway, but operators will now be able to offer the service without it for up to 12 months.
The measures will apply to hot food and drinks, while serving alcohol will be subject to existing licensing laws.
Changes will be put in place “as soon as possible” to help support restaurants and people who need to self-isolate, the Government said.
Businesses will be required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends.
A number of restaurants and cafes have already shut their dine-in areas to tackle falling footfall.
Pret a Manger announced today (18 March) it is closing seating areas and switching to a takeaway business.
All McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and Ireland have moved to being takeaway, drive-thru and delivery only. The fast food chain said its sites will remain open “as long as it is safe to do so”.
Trade body UKHospitality welcomed the Government's announcement but said there needed to be more action to protect jobs and staff following yesterday’s financial support package.
“This move is welcome as it will give more hospitality businesses the chance to help and serve the community. The big issue that remains is people - what was announced by the Chancellor will not stop job losses as companies will be very worried about taking loans to pay staff when they have zero income,” said UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls.
“What the pubs and restaurants desperately need is a package of measures including government funding to keep people in employment and to help avert widespread job losses. This is chronically urgent and needs to happen now.”