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Drinking laws relaxed to help high streets recover

DRINKING in car parks, makeshift pub terraces and more pedestrianised streets are to be allowed to help high streets bounce back from the pandemic.

The government is simplifying licensing laws to enable pubs, restaurants and cafes serve customers outside.

By encouraging ‘the best of British hospitality’, the temporary changes will mean licensed outlets can sell alcohol for customers to drink off the premises — making social distancing easier.

Pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas. Meanwhile, outdoor markets, pop-up car boot sales and summer fairs will not need a planning application to take place.

Ministers hope the laws introduced today as part of the business and planning bill ‘will help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs safely’.

It will also help them plan for a successful relaunch on July 4 — the ‘Super Saturday’ date announced by Boris Johnson on Tuesday when pubs, hotels and campsites in England will all be free to reopen.

However, trips to the pub are set to be more sedate affairs, as the government’s full post-lockdown rules were revealed yesterday.

The volume of music and live TV sport should be kept low to discourage people from shouting. This is more likely to launch the virus into the air and spread it to other customers — so-called aerosol transmission.

Other recommendations include drinks orders being made through an app and premises, also including hotels and hairdressers, keeping a temporary record of customers for 21 days, to support the test and trace system.

Another relaxation of the rules allows religious services, including weddings for up to 30 people.