East Suffolk Council is working closely with local hospitality businesses to help them re-open safely on Saturday, however the Council Leader is asking everyone to approach what has been termed as 'Super Saturday' with care and common sense.
As a result of the recent Business and Planning Bill, premises will be able to provide outdoor seating and stalls, making it easier for customers to safely drink and dine outside. The Council’s Licensing and Food & Safety Teams have written to businesses, providing them with the information they need to comply with Government guidance, including the simplified licensing/planning process. The Council is also waiving the application charge for pavement licences of up to £100.
Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council, says it is essential that the Council makes it as simple as possible for businesses to re-open safely. However, he also stresses that customers must remember the “Stick with it Suffolk” health message and the importance of good behaviour for the future prospects of the pub, restaurant, and wider hospitality industry in East Suffolk.
He said: “I am acutely aware that people have been waiting a long time for this day and how important it is for pubs and restaurants to be trading again. The hospitality industry in East Suffolk provides a fantastic offering and it will be great to see so many outstanding premises back open and functioning. Having waived the pavement licence application charge, we have explained clearly to businesses what measures must be taken to adhere to government guidelines and we are confident that these will be respected and adhered to.
“However, there is a huge onus on anyone who is going out this weekend to behave properly and not to blow this opportunity. Social distancing remains critically important and I would be very worried indeed if people took their safety and the safety of others for granted. People may be really looking forward to that first pint -and I know that most people will be sensible - but we are not out of the woods by any means and if people don’t use common sense, we could see a second wave which will close everything down once again.”
Cllr Gallant also expressed concern about any additional strain placed on emergency and public services this weekend. He said: “If people are determined to go out in large numbers on Saturday night, it is almost certain that there will be pressures on the police and medical services throughout the country. So I am asking the people of East Suffolk, and particularly those in our larger towns, to make life as easy as possible for them. Also, I hope that customers will think of local residents and be respectful both in terms of noise nuisance and, of course, any littering which the Council will need to deal with.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard, particularly for people working in hospitality and related sectors, and reopening in a safe manner is a step towards economic recovery. The addition of outdoor seating and pavement drinking is also an important way to allow businesses to function more safely – but this comes with responsibility and consideration for other people. So, my message once again is absolutely clear. Please enjoy yourselves but don’t blow it.”