Relaxed licensing laws mean pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses in East Devon can apply for temporary ‘pavement licences’ for outdoor tables and chairs.
The district council can now grant permission for furniture to be placed in pedestrian and highway areas for ‘eating and drinking’ as part of the Government’s Covid-19 recovery plans.
But the authority says no glass or single-use plastic should be used in the outdoor areas – which should also be smoker-free and close by 10pm.
A decision on applications – which cost £100 – must be made within a fortnight.
Licences will run for six months until March 2021.
Councillor Joe Whibley, chairman of EDDC’s Licensing and Enforcement Committee, said: “We welcome the easing of these licensing laws which we hope will support our businesses at this challenging time, helping them to follow social distancing and safety measures to protect staff, customers and the public.
“As a council, we have agreed a set of local conditions which licences will be subject to.
“One of our concerns was having glass outside, particularly where this is in close proximity to our beaches, and so we will be looking for businesses to use non-glass tableware outside.
“Given the council’s declaration around single-use plastics, we have included a condition requiring this tableware to be re-useable polycarbonate (or similar) and while it is up to businesses how they deal with this, they may wish to consider using a ‘deposit scheme’.
“There is also a condition recommending that businesses keep their outdoor area as a smoke-free area.
“In order to protect residents, we will be requiring the outside area to stop being used at 10pm and furniture removed from the pavement overnight.
“With very little notice and therefore little time to prepare, the council has worked very hard to put in place all the necessary processes so that we have been able to take on the responsibility and start processing applications very shortly after we were required to do so.”
Any business which uses a premises for the sale of food or drink for consumption – including pubs, cafes, bars, restaurants, snack bars, coffee shops and ice cream parlours – can apply until September 31.
The 14-day application period includes a week-long public consultation.
The responsibility for issuing the licences previously sat with Devon County Council.
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