Open air shopping and drinking revolution measures set to become law

22 July 2020, 06:55

The new rules will make it easier for businesses to offer outdoor dining facilities
The new rules will make it easier for businesses to offer outdoor dining facilities. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Emergency reforms to encourage an al-fresco shopping and drinking revolution over the summer are set to become law.

Businesses have suffered due to the coronavirus lockdown and Ministers have brought in legislation in the hope it will trigger an outdoor dining revolution which will help suffering shops bounce back.

MPs have approved changes made by peers to the Business and Planning Bill, meaning it now only requires royal assent.

The Bill will fast-track how businesses in England apply for temporary permission from local authorities to put chairs and tables on the street outside their premises.

The measure is designed to boost customer numbers while observing social distancing guidance.

Licensed premises in England and Wales will also be able to serve alcohol for punters to take away and consume elsewhere, in efforts to stop drinkers crowding indoors.

Speaking in the Commons, Communities minister Christopher Pincher told MPs: "This Bill will help the country get back on its feet."

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said Labour supported the legislation, but warned: "This is a necessary set of changes for the hospitality industry but it isn't sufficient.

"We continue to have deep concerns about what we see as the premature ending of the furlough for that industry and other particular sectors that are in difficulty."