Councils rebuked for 'overzealous' enforcement of outdoor hospitality rules

16 April 2021 by
Councils rebuked for 'overzealous' enforcement of outdoor hospitality rules

A government minister has written to councils urging them to avoid 'overzealous' enforcement of reopening rules on outdoor hospitality.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said local authorities need to be doing "everything [they] can to help businesses prosper".

It comes after numerous operators took to social media this week after being told their outdoor areas, including shelters and marquees, were not Covid compliant.

This included the Caxton Arms in Brighton, which was unable to reopen its open-air beer garden on Monday after the council ruled it would not have sufficient airflow. Brighton Council have since reversed the decision.

Other pubs and restaurants told of their frustration at local authorities enforcing different interpretations of rules around outdoor mask wearing and social distancing.

In a letter to council leaders, Jenrick wrote: "I would encourage you all to ensure that this guidance is applied proportionately and consistently in your areas to support businesses to reopen safely and to avoid overzealous interpretations of the rules.

"It is in the public interest that local residents can socialise in a licensed and controlled environment outside, where Covid-19 risks are lower."

He said the number of hospitality businesses making use of fast-track pavement licenses for outdoor dining has varied drastically across the country and called on councils to encourage their use.

"Cutting red tape in this way is a lifeline for businesses as they look to bounce back form a uniquely challenging year," said Jenrick.

"We need your support to ensure the measures are known, made use of and not impeded necessarily - jobs and enterprise depend on it.

"I would urge you to show pragmatism and proportionality at all times, doing everything you can to help businesses prosper again."

Photo: Shutterstock

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking