Government amendment asks operators to ensure outdoor areas include smoke-free sections

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Government amendment asks operators to ensure outdoor areas include smoke-free sections

Related tags: Smoking, Smoke ban, Smoking area, Government, Legislation, Al fresco, Coronavirus

An amendment to the Government's Business and Planning Bill will demand that pubs, cafes and restaurants operating outdoor dining and drinking spaces make 'reasonable provision' for smoke-free seating.

It comes after a bid by the House of Lords to extend smoking restrictions to outdoor seating areas.

A number of councils across the country, including in London's Westminster​, have given permission for roads to be temporarily closed and pavements widened so that hospitality businesses could operate al fresco dining spaces throughout the summer.

The Government has stipulated that it will not ban outdoor smoking. 

It says that businesses have invested heavily in their outdoor areas, and that banning outdoor smoking would lead to significant closures and job losses.

However, an amendment set to be tabled by the Government today (20 July), has been designed to give customers 'more choice' by 'ensuring premises offer separate seating for smokers and non-smokers outside'.

This includes having clear ‘no smoking’ signage displayed in designated areas, and no ash trays or similar receptacles to be provided or permitted to be left on furniture where smoke-free seating is identified.

Licence holders should also aim for a minimum two-metre distance between non-smoking and smoking areas, 'wherever possible'.

“We are supporting our pubs, cafes and restaurants to safely reopen and securing jobs by making it quicker, easier and cheaper to set up outdoor seating and stalls to serve food and drink, whilst protecting public health against the transmission of Covid-19," says the Government's Planning Minister, Christopher Pincher.

“These changes will allow everyone to enjoy outdoor eating and drinking whether they smoke or not, with appropriate provisions made for non-smokers and smokers.”

The Business and Planning Bill, which was brought forward by the Government last month​, will grant fast-track approval to allow reopened hospitality businesses to convert car parks and terraces into temporary beer gardens, and some sites will be able to set up tables and chairs on pavements to serve customers.

Under the legislation, the current 28-day consultation period will be reduced to five days; and every venue with an alcohol license will be given permission to sell beer and wine for people to drink on the street.

Related topics: Legislation

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