BRITAIN is set for an al fresco revolution this summer as new laws are introduced on Thursday that will transform the way people socialise and help struggling businesses.
The changes will see every pub, bar and restaurant automatically given permission to serve alcohol for people to drink on the pavement and in the street. They will also be able to expand their drinking and dining areas into car parks to allow more customers.
Councils are being encouraged to pedestrianise areas and new planning freedoms will make it easier for outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales and summer fairs to be set up.
Thursdays changes come after Boris Johnson announced a reopening of many businesses from July 4 following months of lockdown and changes to the two-metre social distancing rule.
They take advantage of scientific findings that coronavirus spreads less easily outside.
The details are due to be announced in the Business and Planning Bill – which has been dubbed the Covid Bill by officials – in Parliament.
A government source said last night: “The Government will introduce outdoor dining in England this summer to help the economy bounce back from coronavirus.
“More pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to serve customers outside, thanks to plans to simplify licensing processes and cut red tape through the new Business and Planning Bill.
“We are taking steps in this Bill to increase outdoor street trading and outdoor markets.
“We are working with councils across England to pedestrianise areas, and proposed planning freedoms will mean that outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales and summer fairs will not need a planning application, transforming the way people currently shop and socialise.”
Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises.
Customers will be able to buy their drinks from a pub and consume them elsewhere – making social distancing easier.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas meaning more customers can enjoy their drinks and food outside.
The source added: “These measures will give an immediate and much-needed boost to many businesses, as well as allow them to plan for a successful reopening on 4 July.”
It builds on support introduced by the government in March allowing any food and drink business, including pubs, to offer a takeaway service.
“It will also support hospitality staff return to work safely, revive businesses and provide a real boost to high streets affected by the pandemic,” the source added.
“This Bill is the next step to enable people to socialise this summer, and enjoy the best of British hospitality in a Covid Secure way – helping businesses get back on their feet and employees return to work.”