At this current time, the COVID-19 regulations prohibit any food or drink business offering any facility for their customers to consume food or drink on the premises, the regulations make it clear that 'premises' includes any outdoor areas within the business control that may or may not belong to the business. For example, you cannot use beer gardens, cafe seating, and you need to very careful if your business is in close proximity to public seating that your service would encourage people to use.
What about when business is allowed to re-open?
It is believed that the use of outdoor areas on-premises serving food or drink may be the first sector the Government allow to open, however this is not confirmed at this stage.
In order to assist with social distancing, many businesses may be considering how they can use outdoor space for customer to assist in getting their public houses/restaurants and cafes operational again.
Will I be able to get a temporary permission to help with COVID-19 Restrictions?
A 3-month consent will be considered, subject to the area's suitability to be licensed, this consent will be to assist with the COVID-19 Restrictions 2020 and will not set a precedent to be able to get longer-term permission to use highway land after this time. All use of the council highway will need to comply fully with COVID-19 regulations, around social distancing etc.
Will I definitely be allowed to place my tables and chairs out on the Highway?
Due to the diversity of the East Riding area, town, and village centres every request for a pavement consent will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
There will need to be full consideration of such matters as below (this list is illustrative and not exhaustive).
- Is the highway suitable for tables and chairs - surface material will they be safe to use?
- Will placing of tables and chairs on the highway cause difficulties in queuing to use shops/ will it prevent people being able to maintain social distancing when the roads and paths are narrowed/obstructed?
- Will tables and chairs in a set location cause safety implications for the public including the visually impaired?
- If two premises are adjoining one another and they both want to place tables and chairs out, how can they work with social distancing?
- Does the premises have any restrictions on their Licensing Act 2003 premises licence that may prevent the use of an outside area?
- Does the premises have another external area they can use instead of highway etc?
We cannot say that all premises locations will be suitable for placing furniture on the street. Consultation with the Council’s planning and highways Teams will also be part of this process.
If we only sell alcoholic drinks and no food, will we be considered for a Pavement Consent?
Prior to COVID-19, the council would not permit any alcohol only establishments to be able to use the highway, however some flexibility will be shown in order to assist getting business back trading under temporary Pavement consents if the COVID-19 regulations allow this use of the highway.
We await further Government advice on this matter which may clarify matters further.
You may also have to apply for a variation to your premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003
How do I apply for temporary COVID-19 Consent?
Please send your initial inquiry by email to Licensing@eastriding.gov.uk
We are awaiting national guidance on this matter, and therefore will update the application process and requirements as soon as we are able to do so.