How to start serving drinks outside in time for April 12th

In this time of exceptional circumstance, April 12th will be a welcome milestone for any hospitality or leisure business. In line with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, beer gardens and outdoor service areas will be allowed to reopen.

We’ve listed all the need to know information – including outdoor service and the recent pavement license extension.

Takeaway drinks

  • A change to the rules now allows pubs and cafes to serve takeaway beverages including alcoholic drinks from April 12th.
  • The drinks must be pre-ordered by customers.
  • The purchaser of the pre-ordered drinks cannot enter the premises.
  • According to UK Hospitality, venues without outdoor beer gardens account for 60% of the industry, which is why the revenue from takeaway drinks is crucial.

Opening up your beer garden

  • The 10pm curfew in place last year has been scrapped.
  • Face masks and visors must be worn by staff.
  • Business ware advised to put up sneeze screens between tables.
  • Socially distanced drinking will be reinforced with the use of signage and floor-markers.
  • Single-service buffets are banned.
  • Waiters have to wash hands between serving different tables.
  • Disposable menus should be put in place and binned after each use.
  • One-in-one-out toilets.
  • Table service must be offered, ordering at the bar is not allowed.
  • Ministers are asking businesses in the hospitality sector to employ young people and those on lower incomes to help with re-opening.

Maximising your outdoor space

  • Purchase spare chairs, available for customers upon request, however customers must always be attentive to social distancing guidelines.
  • Bad weather should not be disruptive, umbrellas will double up as parasols, and standing heaters are also a very popular option.
  • Consider placing removeable furniture on the pavement adjacent to your premises. However this will require a pavement license.
  • Fold-out stackable tables are good space-savers.
  • Benches often offer more seating options than chairs.
  • Staff and customers should always keep in mind social distancing protocol, maximising outdoor space should not come at a cost to safety.

Rules on outdoor eating and drinking

  • Scrapped scotch egg rule, no requirement for substantial meal with alcohol.
  • Rule of six, six people or anyone from two households will be allowed to sit together.
  • Customers asked to wear masks when moving between tables or to go to the toilet.
  • Social distancing must remain in place.
  • Pre-booking and timed stays should be considered by pubs.

Pavement license

  • Licence granted by the local authority involving removable furniture off the premises.
  • Introduced on July 2020 and has been extended to September 2021.
  • Consent for cafes, bars and restaurants to place temporary furniture on the public highway.
  • Pavement licenses have been streamlined and now cost about £100 to obtain.
  • No signs or advertising is permitted on the pavement or road. Your license can be withdrawn and you may be fined up to £2500 if you don’t obey the conditions.
  • Licenses are valid for up to 12 months.
  • There exists a no-obstruction condition and a smoke-free condition which must be considered.
  • For further information, read the government’s guidance.

Indoor dining is set to return from the 17th May. But until then, hospitality and leisure establishments should consider how to reopen after April 12th. Many will be considering purchasing a pavement license to maximise their outdoor service space.

Before you start utilising pavement space, remember to check your insurance cover. Some insurers will automatically cover your venue when you utilise pavement space, however some may not.

To learn more about your cover and the stipulations of a pavement licence and outdoor service, contact NDML. We will ensure you are not underinsured or are left exposed to claims. More service space means a higher risk of accidents and damages. Ensure you are fully covered with NDML.