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Takeaway sales for pubs and bars extended

Published:  14 August, 2023

Pubs and bars in England and Wales will be able to continue selling takeaway drinks beyond the September deadline, meaning the on-trade will be able to continue to benefit from ‘hatch sales’ without having to apply for council permission.

During the pandemic, the on-trade was essentially granted a temporary off-trade licence, with drinks often being served directly from the bar or pub garden hatches.

Now, the sector has been given another 18 months extension. According to the BBC and other outlets, the rules were due to expire on 30 September, but they will now continue until March 2025.

The licensing rules were initially eased in July 2020, as a way of enabling outlets to pursue flexible sales during a period of closures and restrictions.

The idea of ‘takeaway pints’ from pubs became a vital source of revenue, along with other drinks sales.

This will now continue – as will the ability to sell alcohol on the street, as long as outlets have a pavement licence.

A No10 source is reported to have said that “takeaway pints and al fresco drinks are not just a much-enjoyed addition to pub menus, but also a welcome source of income for businesses recovering from the impacts of the pandemic”.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls called the measure a "very welcome intervention" and a “dose of common sense". 

“Many businesses benefitted for the first time from pavement licences and created new outdoor areas but, for some, the use of them was only allowed by a corresponding temporary permission for takeaway sales or al fresco dining.

“The government was originally proposing to extend the former, but not the latter and this would have tied up many more restaurants, bars and pubs in red tape; requiring an application for some to continue using their outside spaces. As the Prime Minister rightly says, now is not the time to tie these businesses up in additional bureaucracy.”

According to reports, the Home Office favoured axing the temporary measure, with councils, residents’ groups and drinks retailers preferring a return to pre-Covid rules.

However, PM Rishi Sunak has been said to have personally intervened, granting the sector relief from a return to completing burdensome applications.