Square Mile outdoor seating rules relaxed to help hospitality over winter 'a sensible step', say industry leaders

Naomi Ackerman
·2-min read
Jeremy Selwyn
Jeremy Selwyn

The City of London Corporation has loosened licensing rules around outdoor seating in a bid to help out bars and restaurants in the Square Mile over winter.

Amendments to the corporation’s ‘Al Fresco Eating and Drinking Policy’ “will allow many more premises to be eligible for a pavement license”.

Venues will also be allowed to install heaters in their open-air areas.

Chief executive of UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls, welcomed the move and told the Standard other local authorities around the country should make similar changes.

She said: “When businesses are up against it, we need local authorities to provide the maximum flexibility to help venues trade, survive and keep jobs open.

"This is exactly the kind of lateral thinking and cooperative approach we need, and we hope more local authorities follow this lead.”

Richard Burge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, labelled the decision “a sensible step”.

Sophie Fernandes, chairman of the corporation’s licensing committee, said: "I hope this change in outdoor City policy gives venues extra flexibility to help keep trading over the winter months ahead.”

The city is still seeing far fewer commuters than pre-pandemic (AFP via Getty Images)
The city is still seeing far fewer commuters than pre-pandemic (AFP via Getty Images)

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Thursday that grants of up to £2,100 a month will be available for bars and restaurants in Tier 2, where a combination of a 10pm curfew and a ban on meeting friends from other households has damaged trade.

The funding can be towards rent or salary bills, and amounts to seven-tenths of a £3,000 grant paid to firms ordered to close, such as London’s nightclubs.

The Government is also to double its wage subsidies in all sectors for workers forced to go part time under the new Job Support Scheme, which is set to replace furlough next week.

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