The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit in the coronavirus lockdown, but good news may be around the corner according to new reports. As some cafes and fast food chains begin reopening for takeaways, it seems cafes and restaurants may be set to follow. Government plans reported in the Sunday Telegraph reveal plans to allow businesses to use outside space to serve their customers.
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With the lockdown slowly easing, more and more businesses are hoping to get back to work.
Cafes and restaurants may be next in line as the report reveals that businesses with a licence for outdoor tables and chairs may be able to turn them into market-style stalls.
The move would mean that businesses could open up and serve food and drink without allowing customers inside.
Even those without licences for outdoor seating may be included, the report suggested.
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Ministers are said to be considering offering “blanket permission” to businesses wanting to add outdoor seating for customers in order to open up.
The licences usually cost around £300, but founder of urban advisory group Create Streets, Nicholas Boys Smith, has reportedly requested that the government waive the licences to get cafes, pubs and restaurants back up and running.
A government source told the Telegraph it could create a “more vibrant style of continental town centres in the summer.”
The move could be part of a phased reopening of the hospitality industry, paving the way for chains and local businesses to full reopen later in the year.
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Though the lockdown rules have relaxed slightly in the last week, takeaways remain the only option for eateries around the UK.
In recent weeks, drive-thrus have begun to reopen after remarks by environment secretary George Eustice, who said fast food chains’ drive-thru services were “made” for social distancing.
McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Starbucks are among the chains that have reopened their restaurants.
However, most places are still only open for drive-thru or delivery.
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Due to safety fears and social distancing measures, customers can order for delivery through apps such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat.
The apps have been a lifeline for local restaurants who have taken on board the government advice since the start of the lockdown and pivoted to a takeaway-only service.
However, the bigger fast food chains have taken longer to put safety measures in place for staff and customers.
McDonald’s kept customers waiting while it tested using PPE for its staff as well as putting social distancing rules in place.
Many chains have reopened with a limited menu, in order to keep teams down to a minimum in the kitchens.
However, some restaurants are beginning to allow customers through the door for a takeaway service.
Costa Coffee opened 15 of its stores to customers on Friday, allowing coffee lovers to go in and order like they usually would – only with new rules in place.
KFC has followed suit with 16 restaurants now accepting customers who want to pick up their orders in store.
The stores are trialling new policies including contactless-only payments, limits to the number of customers in store and perspex screens at counters.
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