Supporting Hospitality re-opening:
If you work in the hospitality industry, it’s more than likely that COVID-19 hit you hard. We can only imagine the loss of earnings and revenue that resulted from the pandemic. With a third (and hopefully last) bout of lockdown now easing, it is important that you get your head around the (not so new) rules to re-open in a legal and safe way.
Many business models will have to change to support the staggered lifting of restrictions. The government has put in many short term plans to assist with this and allow businesses opportunities to move beyond their traditional approach. So, if you’re looking to modify your traditional business practices, such as serve alcohol to be consumed off the premises or creating some outdoor seating on the pavement, you’ll already know it’s important to ensure you’re doing this by the letter of the law in order to avoid potential fines and trouble.
The government has streamlined the application process to obtain a temporary pavement license. This should encourage small businesses to take advantage of space they may not have utilised before. It is important to know, however, that these will remain in place for a year, but not beyond 30th September 2021. An exception may be made if the government decides to extend this date, but at the time of writing (Spring 2021) you will want to bear this in mind if you are looking to invest in generating business outside your normal boundaries: it might be hard to keep that licence in 5 months time.
You can find out more about obtaining a licence, and how to apply here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pavement-licences-draft-guidance/draft-guidance-pavement-licences-outdoor-seating-proposal.
If you’ve been granted this licence, do remember that clear access routes on the highway will need to be maintained. You must still take into account the needs of all users, including disabled people. Failure to comply with this could see your licence taken away. So, do make sure when you set up for the evening rush that you have left the appropriate space. The fee for these licences is capped at £100 with a consultation period of 5 days, so if you can you should consider this to keep business moving as restrictions lift.
To further encourage businesses in the hospitality industry to open with outdoor seating areas, the new temporary off-sales alcohol licencing permissions have been introduced. This has been introduced to ‘make it easier for businesses to make use of outdoor space for dining and the sale of alcohol’. It’s a temporary modification of the Licensing Act of 2003, which is an automatic extension (you don’t need to apply for this) permitting off-sales (sales of alcohol to be consumed off the premises) to be made at a time when the licenced premises are open. It is important to remember that you should notify your licensing authority if you to intend to take advantage of this, however you don’t need to wait for their acknowledgement and can start serving right away.
Finally, it’s important that once you’ve managed to get all this in place, you will be fully insured should anything go wrong.
Here at E&G, we’ll compare business insurance quotes across a wide panel of underwriters, in order to endeavour to find you the most comprehensive cover at the best price no matter your business’ evolving needs.