Hospitality after lockdown

26 February 2021

The hard-hit hospitality industry may now see light at the end of the tunnel following the Government’s announcement of their four-step plan to relax COVID restrictions in England.

If all goes according to plan, from 12 April outdoor hospitality will be in operation. Customers will have to be seated but there will be no need to have a meal with alcohol. Subject to COVID data the Government receives, it is planned that the use of indoor venues will not be allowed until 17 May at the earliest, but the indoor and outdoor mixing limits will remain in place. The proposal at present limits 30 people meeting outside or six people (or if it is more people, two households) indoors. This is unlikely to be lifted until 21 June.

With travel restricted, the ‘staycation’ could prove a major and well needed boost for the hospitality sector. However, if only outdoor drinking is allowed, it is estimated that 6 in 10 pubs could remain closed due to not having enough outside space or having no beer garden at all, in which to offer outdoor service.

To maximise business potential many operators have applied for ‘pavement licences’ which allows you to place removable tables and chairs on land which is owned by the local authority, or certain highways adjacent to premises. Being granted a pavement licence only permits you to place furniture on the highway for the selling and serving of food or drink supplied from the premises, it does not permit you to undertake the licensable activity of selling and supplying alcohol from the highway. To sell and supply alcohol from the highway you would need to submit an application to vary the premises licence OR apply for a Temporary Event Notice.

Likewise, you cannot sell and supply alcohol from a stall or pop-up bar which has been erected outside of the area covered unless the existing premises licence allows. In most instances, a full variation of the premises licence to extend the licensed area would be required.

If you are erecting a marquee or tent to accommodate tables and chairs and provide shelter from inclement weather, you do not need to vary your premises licence, but, if you are seeking to use the marquee or tent to have an additional area for the sale of alcohol (e.g. a pop-up bar) then you would need to vary the premises licence to do this.

Speak to a member of our dedicated Licensing Team who would be happy to provide advice or assistance in relation to any queries you may have regarding your premises licence. Please contact Karen Lolotte on 01473 299140.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at February 2021.


Julie Gowland

Legal Director

+44 (0)1603 756413

+44 (0)7827 747070


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