Restaurants, pubs and cafés will get automatic freedoms to provide takeaway services for another year until 23 March 2022, communities secretary Robert Jenrick is set to announce this week.
Jenrick relaxed the rules in March in order for businesses to offer takeaways during the pandemic without having to go through a planning application process. This was due to end on 23 March 2021 but will now be extended by another year. The government is also understood to be considering making these reforms permanent.
Operators told The Caterer last week ahead of the second national lockdown in England that deliveries and takeaways could become a long-term business strategy for restaurants even once Covid restrictions are lifted.
Pubs and restaurants are restricted from selling alcohol on their premises to take away but can provide delivery or click and collect.
In July the government also made it easier for businesses to host markets and stalls and Jenrick will be extending this option for the whole of next year; and it has become easier and less expensive for businesses to get an outdoor seating licence to offer alfresco dining, further reforms the government will consider making permanent.
Jenrick is expected to say: "We've taken decisive action since the beginning of the pandemic to support our pubs, restaurants, cafés and markets. Making it easier for them to provide takeaways has helped these businesses to adapt and helped sustain many through an unbelievably difficult year.
"That's why I am extending these simple but effective reforms to support these businesses – helping give them and their employees more certainty over the coming year. It will also be a boost for their customers who can now look forward to continuing to enjoy meals at home from their favourite restaurants. As these reforms have made such a difference, I will be considering making them permanent."
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "The ability to provide takeaway services was a valuable lifeline for many hospitality venues, not just during the lockdown but in the days of reduced and restricted trade, too.
"The extension will undoubtedly help many. For pubs, restaurants and cafés to operate as takeaways gives them a previously untapped revenue stream and a much better chance to survive what will be a tough winter. It will help avoid waste and allow businesses to retain a valuable link with their customers and communities."