Outdoor seating fees waived to help businesses bounce back

Cafes, restaurants and pubs across the city will be able put seats and tables outside for free as part of a move to help business bounce back.

The Council is waiving its licence fee – for the second year running – to help local businesses all trying to get back to a sense of normality.

All being well, cafés and bars are currently counting down the hours to a reopening date of April 12, when they will be able to put out tables and chairs again. But they will still have to make sure social distancing measures are in place.

Councillor Mark Coker, cabinet member for strategic planning and infrastructure said: “We want to help wherever we can get the city centre open and our smaller district shopping centres come back to life safely.”

Providing the application looks ok, the council will give the green light within five days. (There will still be a formal 10 day consultation for new applicants – so that fire and police can be consulted). The new permit will last until 31 March 2022.

City Centre Manager Steve Hughes said: “We are planning for a great summer and anything that helps the businesses after such a difficult year is really welcome.”

The permits have a number of conditions that businesses must meet. They include:

  • Identifying and agreeing the extent of the area for the permit
  • keeping the area clean and tidy
  • using only tables, chairs and barriers
  • ensuring all customers are seated, no vertical drinking
  • no barbecues, fire pits or naked flames
  • no amplified music or sports commentary
  • ensuring furniture is removed from the pavement by the agreed time
  • having public liability insurance of £5 million

Businesses must also carry out and submit a risk assessment showing how they plan to follow government guidance on social distancing, including a basic site plan showing the location of furniture.

Issuing the permit will depend on how much space there is for people to be able to pass easily including people pushing prams or those in wheelchairs.  The Council will monitor the scheme. 

The Council is also expecting a number of businesses to consider putting up marquees or gazebos to keep their customers dry while they eat or drink.

This is a different situation as they will need to be fixed – which could affect the pavement or road. Cafés and bars wishing to place marquees there will be a charge of £120 for a section 171 permit. 

For more information: https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/licensingandpermits/tablesandchairspermitonpublicroadorstreet