There is good news for the thousands of pub owners, staff and landlords across the country who decided to not open next month because of the risk of bad weather.
Government ministers have announced that drinking establishments will be allowed to erect gazebos and marquees from April 12 without planning permission so punters can drink and eat outside.
The move will be hugely welcomed and allow pubs and bars with outdoor spaces, but no infrastructure in place for rain and cold weather, to provide comfortable and dry seating without having to jump through the usual hoops.
It is thought that an additional 9,000 additional venues and establishments can now open next month rather than having to wait for indoor serving in May, reports the Mirror.
All venues, even if they are listed, will be able to take advantage of the relaxed rules and be secure in the knowledge that the scheme will be in place until September.
To ensure the marquees and gazebos are Covid compliant side panels will need to be open for ventilation.
In another major boost, venues with pavement access can put out tables and chairs for dining without having to go through the tedious public consultation process that usually takes weeks.
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They can notify their town hall and carry on serving if they do not hear back in 10 days.
A new £56million Welcome Back Fund has also been earmarked to help towns and cities get ready to throw open their doors.
Councils will be able to apply for cash to hold beer and food festivals in high streets to get people back to shops.
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Cash will go to town halls to put up more outdoor seating and keep spaces Covid-secure.
Flowers can be planted, graffiti scrubbed off and cash plugged into parks to get ready for the big unlocking.
Housing, Communities and Local Government Minister Robert Jenrick said on Friday: “We have cut needless red tape to make it easier for pubs and restaurants to set up marquees, making the most of outdoor space and giving more people the chance to enjoy a meal or pint.
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“Every pub in the land can now erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer: A shot in the arm for our wonderful pubs.”
He added: “I am hugely grateful for the spirit and strength that business owners and communities have shown this year."
The rule change was welcomed by the pub industry.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “It’s good news for pubs, as we move towards the outdoor reopening, that rules around outdoor spaces will be more relaxed, particularly given the vagaries of the April weather.
“We would urge the Government and local councils to work with publicans to ensure as many people as possible are able to return to the Great British pub.”
And Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “The news that pubs will be able to put up marquees without planning permission is great."
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