The Government is facing to ban outdoor smoking outside at pubs, restaurants and cafes during the Covid-19 pandemic in exchange for permission extend outdoor hospitality facilities, serving “pavement drinks”, according to reports.
A cross-party group of peers is set to table an amendment to emergency coronavirus legislation which will temporality relax licensing laws in order to boost the hospitality industry. However, the pavement licences, which will allow for drinks to be consumed outside the premises, will only be granted on the condition that smoking is banned.
Liberal speaking to a national newspaper Democrat Baroness Northover said: “Reducing smoking in public places has been hugely important for improving public health in the UK. However, with pavement licences being introduced to help support our hospitality industry, the Government should not allow this to become an excuse for increasing smoking in public places,” she said.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of British Beer & Pub Association, said that the management of smoking areas should be left up to individual pubs.
She said: ‘We believe that it should be up to licensees to make the decision on whether smoking is permitted in their outside areas and if so how best to organise designated spaces.
‘Each publican knows their customers and their needs best and should be allowed the flexibility to meet these needs, especially at this challenging time.’
“More and more people are spending time with friends, family and loved ones outside. We must ensure that these new pavement areas can be enjoyed by all.”
Anti-smoking campaigners have backed the amendment, with particular concerns held over the potential for pavement licences to put people at greater risk of ingesting second-hand smoke.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government told the paper: “We are helping our pubs, cafés and restaurants return to work safely by making it quicker, easier and cheaper for them to set up outdoor seating and street stalls to serve food and drink.
“Councils will be able to set local conditions for licences. As set out in supporting guidance, councils should consider public health when setting these conditions.”