Government considering 'blanket permission’ to make public spaces available to hospitality businesses

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Government considering 'blanket permission’ to make public spaces available to hospitality businesses Coronavirus

Related tags Coronavirus Al fresco

The Government's Housing and Local Government Minister Robert Jenrick says he is considering a ‘blanket permission’ for hospitality businesses to turn public spaces and streets into al fresco dining areas.

It comes after The Piano Works founder Alan Lorrimer launched the UK Grand Outdoor Café campaign​ last week, which calls on the Government to issue a directive to grant local authorities a temporary deregulation that would allow hospitality businesses the opportunity to place tables and chairs outside their premises, whilst ensuring physical distancing is adhered to. 

Having sent an open letter to Business Secretary "now considering a ‘blanket’ permission for restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars to use pedestrianised streets for tables and chairs".

The idea is similar to an initiative in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius​, which has temporarily given public spaces to its restaurants and bars to help them comply with physical distancing rules.

Hoping the campaign will allow the UK hospitality industry to safely restart following the Coronavirus lockdown, plan would also see strolling musicians be allowed to entertain outside guests so that the huge community of unemployed musicians have some way of recouping some of their lost earnings. 

It requests operators be allowed the flexibility to extend their current licensing conditions and trading hours with no additional fees charged; alongside the relaxing of zoning regulations until September, in order for selected spaces to become designated pedestrianised zones.

Businesses that have shown their support to the campaign so far include Smoking Goat; St Austell Brewery; D&D London; The Breakfast Club; Rosa’s Thai Café, Revolution Bars Group; Kerb Food; Darwin & Wallace; and Angela Hartnett Ltd.

Now that the first phase of the campaign has succeeded, UK Grand Outdoor Café is calling on customers to pledge their support, which they can do by clicking here​.

"This initiative aims to safely get people back onto our streets and revitalise our villages, towns and city centres," says Lorrimer. 

"With the Government’s continued help we can thank the British public for behaving so responsibly and reward our frontline, dining and drinking outside across the UK enjoying the great British Summer.” 

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