The government said businesses can already make their own non-smoking policies for outside space without the need for regulations, and that the new guidance will “reinforce this point”, making it clear that the licence-holder has to make reasonable provision for smoke-free seating.
The government added that today’s amendment will give customers more choice by “ensuring premises offer separate seating for smokers and non-smokers outside”.
However, it stressed that it will not ban outdoor smoking, as since the existing ban was introduced, businesses have invested heavily in their outdoor areas and banning outdoor smoking would lead to “significant closures and job losses”.
Planning minister, Christopher Pincher, said: “We are supporting our pubs, cafes and restaurants to safely reopen and securing jobs by making it quicker, easier and cheaper to set up outdoor seating and stalls to serve food and drink, whilst protecting public health against the transmission of Covid.
“These changes will allow everyone to enjoy outdoor eating and drinking whether they smoke or not, with appropriate provisions made for non-smokers and smokers.”