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
Transforming the leisure sectorRead more
A Winter's Tale: Trading through a Covid winter in England & WalesRead more
West of Scotland entering level 4 - implications for hospitality...Read more
Ten steps to a perfect premises licenceRead more
Caroline Loudon named Hospitality Hero by DRAM magazineRead more
New lockdown regulations affecting hospitality businesses in England...Read more
Guide to Scotland hospitality restrictionsRead more
Covid concerns - can the hospitality industry survive?Read more
Scottish hospitality "circuit break" lockdown confirmedRead more
The way people shop is constantly evolving, from the growth of online and the changing use of stores...Read more
The pandemic has had a deep and long-lasting effect on the leisure, food & drink sector, forcing operators to embrace new ways of attracting and servicing customers.Read more
The pandemic has forced the majority of the workforce into a world of remote working. As a result, our cities are evolving.Read more
Our countdown to Brexit and beyond podcast series looks at the impact for businesses on both sides of the pond of any free trade agreement between the UK and Europe and the UK and the US. ThisRead more
There's a growing demand for retailers to do more to attract the Purple Pound – the collective spending power of disabled shoppers, estimated to be worth around £274bn. We look at the opportunities, the legal issues and...Read more
Helping you navigate your business through the risks and opportunities that Brexit will bring.Read 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