The governments relaxation of “alfresco rules” making it easier and cheaper for hospitality operators to get pavement licences are to be extended and made permanent next spring, the government has announced.

Regulations were relaxed to make it easier for pubs, bars, and restaurants to obtain licenses to serve food and drink on pavements and pedestrianised areas during the pandemic.

This was due to end in September but has now been extended, allowing businesses to continue to offer these services while the government works towards making the changes permanent in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

Greg Clark, secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said:
“We want to see bustling town centres across the country and that’s why the changes we made to licensing rules will become permanent.

“Making al fresco dining a permanent fixture on our high streets is part of our plan to level up communities and create vibrant places people want to live and work.”

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“Any help that the struggling hospitality sector gets right now is gratefully received, and making pavement licences permanent is hugely positive, offering potentially business-saving opportunities to hundreds of pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes.

“Vital in enabling businesses to trade during the pandemic when they might otherwise have been forced to close or restrict their opening hours, these licences can now benefit town and city centres by helping local economies recover faster, contributing to levelling up.

“Pavement licences also highlighted the hospitality industry’s ingenuity and creativity during Covid, as many venues invested heavily to develop fun, innovative outdoor spaces. Those farsighted businesses can now look forward to maximising the return on those investments.”