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Coronavirus: a helping hand for businesses

This page contains information for Westminster businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Published on: 23 February 2021

Last updated: 9 April 2021

April 12: the return of al fresco dining

On 22 February 2021, the Prime Minister outlined his roadmap for recovery, stating that hospitality settings such as bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, and social clubs will be able to re-open on 17 May. This includes restaurants and bars within hotels or member’s clubs.   

Outdoor hospitality will reopen from 12 April.

The provision of smoking equipment, such as shisha, will continue to be prohibited.  

Read the Prime Minister’s full statement 

While indoor hospitality is expected to reopen from 17 May, venues with outdoor dining can provide services from 12 April. Westminster City Council has therefore seen the return of temporary measures to enable al fresco hospitality across Westminster until 30 September 2021.      

Following the success of the scheme last year, and the overwhelming support it received from residents and businesses, the return of temporary measures further consolidates the council’s commitment to do all it can to help the economy, whilst always prioritising safety.  

Al fresco dining: apply for a Pavement Licence 

Pavement licences that were issued last year to enable venues to provide al fresco dining are due to expire on 30 April 2021. While your current licence will be valid when outdoor venues reopen on 12 April, if you would like to continue to provide al fresco dining beyond April, you must submit a new application by no later than 16 April. All new licences will be valid until 30 September 2021.

Applications will take up to 14 days to process and will cost £100 per application.

Apply for a pavement licence

Premises without a licence but with sufficient outdoor seating can also apply for pavement licence. Those venues who cannot operate until 17 May when indoor hospitality is expected to reopen, please view our business support services.

The council will do everything it can to support businesses to re-open safely. Given the need to keep access for emergency vehicles open and to accommodate residents and other businesses, we are unlikely to be able to have additional road closures or new pavement extensions at this time.  

Read our comprehensive guide for businesses on al fresco hospitality (updated April 2021)

Advice for the hospitality sector on outdoor dining