England to go al fresco with new law to allow drinking and dining outside

England will go al fresco for summer, with new laws to loosen restrictions on drinking, dining and shopping outdoors reportedly set to be published later today.

The Business and Planning Bill will make it easy for pubs to use car parks as beer gardens and for streets to be transformed into outdoor markets in order to give floundering businesses a much-needed boost.

It was initially going to include more flexible Sunday trading hours, but this has now been dropped to ensure it passes before most of the hospitality industry reopens on July 4, the Daily Mail reports.

The new law, which will allow outdoor trading without the need for planning permission, will recreate the cafe culture often seen in Continental Europe, a government source told the newspaper.

They said: ‘It obviously depends on everyone adopting a can-do attitude to try and save the summer, but we are going to play our part by cutting red tape and getting out of the way of business.

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‘You could see closed-off streets laid out with tables and chairs for dining. We are removing the need for planning permission for outdoor markets, so you could see small shops and boutiques which are struggling with social distancing setting up market stalls.’ 

It comes after Sir Iain Duncan Smith claimed the ‘red tape and caveats’ put on businesses would make it impossible for them to make profit.

The government released strict new guidelines for the hospitality industry – including pubs, restaurants and hotels – on Wednesday.

No live performances, loud music or TV will be allowed in pubs and restaurants in order to avoid people shouting, an action that could potentially increase the spread of coronavirus.

The guidance reads: ‘All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other.

‘This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.’

Groups will also be limited to six in pubs, with a maximun of two households allowed to meet indoors.

The six-person limit remains in pub gardens, although friends from more than two households will be allowed to socialise.

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