Hospitality Industry Receives Positive Boost as Takeaway Drinks from Pubs to Remain Available
In a crucial development for the hospitality sector, pubs across England and Wales have been granted permission to continue selling takeaway drinks, as the government opts to maintain Covid licensing regulations.
Initially introduced as a response to the pandemic-induced closure of pubs in 2020, these regulations allowed establishments to offer their patrons takeaway beverages through service hatches. Originally slated to conclude on September 30, the government has now extended the provision until March 2025.
This strategic decision, aimed at safeguarding the struggling trade from financial distress, marks the third extension of the rules during the course of the pandemic. While the hospitality industry welcomes this measure, the government has expressed a commitment to seeking a more permanent solution that best supports local pubs and bars.
The move comes as a direct response to industry advocacy and concerns, echoing the collective voice of those within the sector.
Having initially been implemented in July 2020, these regulations permit pubs lacking an off-premises license to serve takeaway alcohol without the requirement of seeking approval from their local council. Additionally, such establishments are authorised to vend alcohol on the street, within the parameters of their existing pavement licenses – a provision that will persist beyond September.
This extension proved instrumental in enabling pubs to remain operational amidst the challenges posed by Covid-related restrictions.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, lauds this decision, affirming that landlords will be relieved to be spared the necessity of applying for supplementary licenses. "The Prime Minister must recognise that these businesses are still under immense pressure," she emphasised.
Martin McTague, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, hails this move as an "extra revenue stream to mitigate the rising costs".
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, notes that numerous establishments leveraged the advantages of pavement licenses to create outdoor spaces for takeaway sales and open-air dining. She lauds the government's decision as a "welcomed dose of common sense" which effectively averts an influx of bureaucratic hurdles encumbering restaurants, bars, and pubs.
With the original expiration date looming at the end of September, pubs eager to continue offering takeaway beverages would have been compelled to navigate the complexities of obtaining local council approval. The Home Office, before committing to prolong the existing regulations, conducted comprehensive consultations with councils, resident groups, and beverage retailers.
The majority of responses received indicated a preference for retaining the pandemic-era regulations, considering the alternative would have subjected pub landlords to protracted application processes.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak affirmed, "I'm determined to back British pubs and make sure they have all the support they need after weathering the storm of the pandemic as we grow our economy.
That's why we're cutting unnecessary red tape so that customers can enjoy a takeaway pint or al fresco drink without businesses facing extra burdens."
Article by BBC news
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