12 Nov 2020

New freedoms for restaurants, pubs and cafes to offer takeaway services

Restaurants, pubs and cafes will get automatic freedoms to provide takeaway services for another year, the Government has announced.

The measures help give these businesses the ability to continue to serve customers and retain their staff. It will also help them adapt to longer-term changes they may wish to introduce, such as serving their customers from market stalls, the Government has said.

This follows the relaxation of rules in March so businesses could offer a takeaway service during the pandemic, without having to go through a planning application process. This was due to end on March 23, 2021, but will now be extended by another year. The Government will also consider whether to make these reforms permanent.

Whilst pubs and restaurants are currently restricted from selling alcohol on their premises to take away (but can still provide delivery or click and collect) due to the national Covid restrictions in England, the law before March would have restricted pubs and restaurants from choosing to only offer food takeaway services.

The freedoms introduced in March and now extended mean pubs and restaurants can focus on selling food takeaways if they choose to, while being able to return to operating as a pub or restaurant from December 2.

In July, the government also made it easier for businesses and communities to host markets and stalls. The Government has now extended this option for the whole of next year, and will consider whether to make these reforms permanent.

The Government also helped businesses offer more alfresco dining by making it easier and less expensive to get an outdoor seating licence and is similarly keeping this under review.

Under the national restrictions currently in place, markets can sell takeaways from stalls. However, the stalls must not have seating areas.

Read the Government's full statement here 

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