Thursday 2 July 2020 brought a number of announcements of real interest and importance to the Scottish hospitality industry, and three standout. First, confirmation that outdoor hospitality spaces such as beer gardens and pavement cafes, can open as planned from Monday 6 July (subject to licensing).
Second, an indication that on entering phase 3 of the route map, likely around 15 July 2020, there would be a relaxation of the 2 metre distancing requirement to 1 metre “plus mitigations” in relation to key sectors such as hospitality. Finally, the Chief Planner has asked local authorities not to apply the ‘28 day rule’ in relation to temporary outdoor uses.
Reopening of outdoor hospitality spaces
With the opening of outdoor hospitality spaces from Monday 6 July, it is now vital that licence holders across Scotland make sure that they are ready to go live.
When opening, it is important to prepare risk assessments in line with Scottish Government and trade association guidance.. It is also important to comply with all licensing conditions such as making sure that the identity of the premises manager is up-to-date and that all signage is correct and on display.
Many of the businesses we work with have existing licensed outdoor spaces; we are also working on securing scores of occasional licences for others to add or extend outdoor spaces. Many applications are going to the wire but we are pleased to see the first of these now being issued. If you need support in relation to the use of outdoor areas anywhere in Scotland, get in touch quickly.
Further Coronavirus regulations were issued which has implications for the use of coverings (such as marquees) in outdoor areas. It has been confirmed that the so-called “50% Rule” will apply – this is lifted from the Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and means that at least 50% of the area must be open to be treated as outdoors for the purposes of the coronavirus regulations allowing beer gardens etc to open from 6 July 2020. This can be a tricky area of law to navigate and we urge operators to take advice as soon as possible.
Relaxation of social distancing
The relaxation of the 2 metre distancing requirement will, of course, be warmly welcomed by the industry. It is, however, important that the parameters of this relaxation are understood. The First Minister made it clear that 2 metre distancing will be the norm with 1 metre permitted where additional mitigations are in place. These mitigations will be consulted on and agreed with the industry ahead of phase 3. But, to allow the industry to start to plan ahead, the following examples of mitigation measures have been given:
The First Minister made clear that the opening of beer gardens on 6 July 2020 will be under the 2 metre rule initially with the move to 1 metre plus mitigation happening on or around 15 July.
The nature of the 1 metre distancing being the exception to the rule is underlined by the need for businesses implementing such a policy to display signs advising customers that they are entering a “1 metre zone”.
While many of these measures will be relatively straightforward for businesses to implement, and may already be in place - such as having staff wear face coverings and clear signage; others will require changes to business models. Clients are already contacting us in relation to music and rest assured we are contacting the Scottish Government for clarity on what appears an arbitrary rule. It is important to stay apprised of upcoming requirements such as the pending guidance on taking personal details from customers for Test & Protect.
Relaxation of planning controls
Planning law allows the temporary use of land for up to 28 days in a calendar year without the need to obtain planning permission. We have campaigned for this to be relaxed for some time to aid the Covid recovery, and are therefore delighted that as of 2 July the Chief Planner has issued guidance to local authorities advising that this 28 day limit should not be applied in an effort to support businesses and facilitate social distancing.
This relaxation includes not just the use of outdoor spaces, but also temporary structures in those spaces. This means that licence holders should have greater flexibility to use external areas without having to obtain planning permission and this will run until September 2020 before being reviewed again. It should, however, be remembered that authorisation from the council’s road department and licensing board may be required depending on the proposal. The erection of structures may also require building standards consent.
The Licensing team here at TLT are on hand to help businesses to negotiate any challenges around reopening as the industry starts come out of lockdown.
TLT maintains top Chambers rankings across seven practice areasRead more
Covid concerns - can the hospitality industry survive?Read more
Scottish hospitality "circuit break" lockdown confirmedRead more
TLT grows Legal 500 rankingsRead more
10pm curfew and mandatory table service for food and drink businesses...Read more
Track and trace: How to comply with the new regulationsRead more
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
The way people shop is constantly evolving, from the growth of online and the changing use of stores...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
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
Keep on top of the employment law issues that matter most to you and your business with our new podcast.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