The Northern Ireland Executive continues to further ease restrictions, following the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on the Hospitality Sector.
Last week the NI executive announced that a number of sectors of the Hospitality Sector could re-open from 3 July 2020. These include;
The Department for the Economy has now published detailed guidance to help businesses in the hospitality sector as they prepare to reopen and work safely from 3 July 2020 while social distancing measures remain in place.
This guidance titled ‘Working safely during COVID-19 in the Visitor Economy sector’ is for business owners, operators and workers in hotels, indoor and outdoor attractions and experiences, as well as hospitality businesses. It provides guidance on how to maintain a safe environment and manage social distancing and what to do if a customer has a suspected case of Covid-19.
It has been broadly welcomed by the sector and industry bodies with Hospitality Ulster stating that “The publication of the guidance is good news in the sense that it allows those parts of our industry that can reopen on the 3 July, to make preparations for reopening”.
Hospitality Ulster have released practical guidance to the hospitality sector. The document titled ‘COVID19 - A Practical Guide for the Hospitality Industry’ goes into detail on a range of key risk assessments that businesses will have to consider ahead of reopening including staff protection, cleaning and social distancing.
Tourism NI has also published additional sector-specific guidance for working safely in hotels and tourist accommodation and restaurants, pubs, bars and food services. Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen stated: "The advice will allow businesses to undertake unique risk assessments and translate this into specific actions.
Under the current guidelines, the 2m rule in respect of social distancing remains in Northern Ireland. In order to continue to operate effectively and remain financially viable the thoughts of many in the sector have turn consider utilising outdoor spaces much more than ever before.
Northern Ireland Councils control the licensing of café pavements under Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.
The Pavement Cafe licence authorises a person who operates a business supplying food or drink, in or from the premises, to place furniture on a public area outside their premises for use by customers. This includes cafés, restaurants, pubs, retail outlets providing refreshments, takeaways and supermarkets with a deli counter.
This week Belfast City Council issued temporary guidance in respect of Pavement Café licences and temporarily waived the application fee throughout Belfast Council area. This gesture has been well-received by the hospitality sector. We wait other updates from our local councils as to whether they will follow suit.
There are a number of documents required for an application these include;
Businesses making the application are also required to fix a public notice to the premises on the day the application is made to the council. The notice must be positioned so as to be visible to the public for 28 days. Interested parties can make representations to the council in respect of an application.
Belfast City Council have stated they will aim to provide a determination within five weeks from date of
receipt of a fully completed application. If there are objections to the granting of the licence, or other input from consultees, this period may be extended to consider those objections or considerations.
The detailed guidance by the Department of the Economy and key industry stakeholder bodies in Northern Ireland have been broadly welcomed by the hospitality sector as they chart a road to recovery in 2020 beyond Covid -19. It is hoped this guidance will give businesses in the hospitality sector the confidence to reopen their doors while ensuring the health of customers and staff.
The steps taken by Belfast city Council around Pavement Café licences will hopefully ensure that as we enter the key summer month’s businesses can remain as financially viable as possible while the 2m rule remains and take advantage of the warmer weather by moving to a more continental model of outdoor service.
TLT has extensive experience in licensing matters in Northern Ireland and in the jurisdictions of England & Wales and Scotland.
If you would like to discuss your requirements, please get in touch with Kevin Murphy or Eoin Devlin at our Belfast office.
This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at June 2020. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions
The rule of six: Legal obligations on food and drink businesses in...Read more
Delays and more restrictions for Scottish hospitality venuesRead more
Individual pubs, bars and restaurants could be closed by councils to...Read more
Changes for the wider hospitality industry in ScotlandRead more
Northern Ireland Executive announces proposed major changes to liquor...Read more
Wales guidance for hospitality sector re-openingRead more
New licensing hotline to support Scotland's tourism businesses in run...Read more
Showing football matches in pubs from 4 JulyRead more
Entertainment in pubs from 4 JulyRead more
Green finance is gaining speed, driven by global climate change pressures and the recognition of the vital role which sustainability plays in a resilient financial services sector.Read more
Keep on top of the employment law issues that matter most to you and your business with our new podcast.Read more
As businesses adjust to new ways of working and plan for an uncertain future, we keep track of the emerging legal and regulatory issues.Read more
Keeping you up to date with the latest guidance on regulatory change and legal impact of the coronavirus pandemic.Read more
While future trading relationship with the EU is negotiated, we will be in a 'status quo' transition period until 31 December 2020. Follow our latest updates.Read more
Our Senior Managers Regime hot topic features news and insight to help banks, building societies, investment firms and UK branches of foreign banks prepare for the new regime.Read more
The clock is ticking for firms to prepare for moving from LIBOR to sterling risk-free rates. Follow our insights and events for strategic advice.Read more
We approach a brave new world of Gigabit full-fibre fixed communications, 5G mobile technologies, data driven markets enabled by true AI, with the potential for huge commercial and social growth and benefits. Follow our...Read more
Open Banking is driving innovation in banking and customer experience but also presents new challenges around security and data protection.Read more