FAQs for shops and high street businesses on how to re-open and operate safely under the COVID-19 situation.

Business guidance:

Q1. What guidance is available for my business to re-open and operate safely under the COVID-19 situation?
A1 The government has published ‘Working Safely During COVID-19 in shops and branches’ which can be accessed at:

Working safely during COVID-19 -Shops branches (external pdf)

Q2. What financial assistance may be available to my business?
A2. The following websites outline further links that may be helpful:

Coronavirus support for businesses (council pdf)

Humber Growth Hub - COVID-19 (external pdf)

Love Your High Street (external council website)

Regional Growth Fund - Taking care of business (external website)

Licensed premises/tables and chairs:

Q3. Will I need permission from the council to place tables and chairs outside my premises?
A3. Yes: If you want to place tables and chairs on highway land (carriageway, footway, pedestrian areas and any verge etc) for the consumption of food/drink or alcohol, then you will require a Pavement Consent.

Any enquiries about applying for a pavement consent need to be emailed to Licensing@eastriding.gov.uk as soon as possible to ensure it can be considered as a matter of urgency.

A3. No: If the land is private land, owned by you, then no permission is needed from the council to place tables and chairs.**

Q4. Will I be able to get a temporary permission to help with COVID-19 Restrictions?
A4. Yes: A three-month consent will be considered, subject to the area’s suitability to be licensed. This consent will be to assist with the COVID-19 Restrictions 2020 and will not set a precedent to be able to get longer term permission to use highway land after this time.

All use of the council highway will need to comply fully with COVID-19 regulations, around social distancing etc.

Q5. Will I definitely be allowed to place my tables and chairs out on the highway?
A5. Due to the diversity of the East Riding area, and town and village centres, every request for a Pavement Consent will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

There will need to be full consideration to such matters as these (this list is illustrative and not exhaustive):

  • Is the highway suitable for tables and chairs (surface material), will they be safe to use?
  • Will placing of tables and chairs on the highway cause difficulties for queuing to use shops? Will it prevent people being able to maintain social distancing when the roads and paths are narrowed/obstructed?
  • Will tables and chairs in a set location cause safety implications for the public including the visually impaired?
  • If two premises are adjoining one another and they both want to place tables and chairs out, how can they work with social distancing?
  • Does the premises have any restrictions on their Licensing Act 2003 premises licence that may prevent use of an outside area?
  • Does the premises have another external area they can use instead of highway, etc?

We cannot say that all premises’ locations will be suitable for placing furniture on the street. Consultation with the council’s planning and highways teams will also be part of this process.

More information on what information you will need to submit to the Licensing team for consideration of an external area can be found here: East Riding of Yorkshire Council - Pavement licences

Q6. If we only sell alcoholic drinks and no food, will we be considered for a Pavement Consent?
A6. Prior to COVID-19, the council would not permit any alcohol-only establishments to be able to use the highway, however some flexibility will be shown in order to assist getting business back trading under temporary Pavement Consents if the COVID-19 regulations allow this use of the highway.

We await further Government advice on this matter which may clarify matters further.

You may also have to apply for a variation to your premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003.

Q7. How much will it cost to get permission for the using the highway to place tables and chairs on it?
A7. The application fee for the short term (three-month) consent will be set dependent on how many tables and chairs your premises would be consented to have.

The fees will be available at this web page:

East Riding of Yorkshire Council - Alcohol, entertainment and food - Pavement licences

Q8. Will I need any insurance to place tables and chairs on the highway?
A8. Yes: You will require public liability insurance (minimum of £5million cover) that includes the outdoor area.

Q9. What about toilet provision?
A9. If food or drink is provided for consumption on the highway or on your private land then suitable toilet arrangements for customers should be in place, ensuring you are meeting the requirements of COVID-19 Secure: 5 steps to safer working.

General highway use:

Q10. Can I put my goods/stall/sign/machine/ride/game on the highway?
A10. No. The highway (carriageway, footway, pedestrian areas and any verge etc) is for the use of the public to travel and gain access to premises. Safety remains the prime concern and this now includes the public being able to socially distance on the highway with enough space as well as safe access to premises for blind and partially sighted patrons and those with other disabilities. Arcade games and rides will reduce space and also attract contact by young children unaware of the risks involved.

Q11. Can my customers queue on the highway?
A11. Generally yes. You must take account of the potential size and queue direction in your own COVID-19 risk assessment (see A1 links above). Your customers should remain only on your frontage, not your neighbours’ (without their consent). Queuing should be in line with buildings rather than across the footpath/walkway which is required for socially distancing passers-by. You may wish to apply your own monitoring and temporary stickers or tape markings to the footway surface to aid social distancing, suitable material is widely available for this purpose.

Q12. Will the council provide barriers for me?
A12. No. It remains the responsibility of individual business premises to undertake their own assessment in preparation for opening and trading and provide any equipment to support this. The use of barriers on the highway is not permitted without consent which will be based upon available width for other highway users to socially distance. Contact highways.customer.care@eastriding.gov.uk for further information on placing barriers.

Q13. Will the council temporarily close the street or parking space to traffic or make the footpath one-way?
A13. Generally no. Such proposals will be kept under review, however, but will only be considered in particularly busy areas where sensible social distancing cannot be achieved. Our towns will continue to rely on roads and parking areas being used for deliveries, travel, shopping, commuting and available to all. Making footways one-way will also be reviewed and balanced with the potential for conflict of destinations and social distancing.

Q14. Can I use my own car park to trade and force customers to park on the highway?
A14. While you are generally able to use your own private land to trade, any detrimental effects on the highway for others in terms of access, safety or obstruction due to parked cars will be addressed by the council.

Q15 Can the council enforce social distancing?
A15. Outside, no. The council will provide signs across our public realm town centres/shopping areas and car parks to remind people of the need to socially distance to keep safe and is providing advice to help support businesses to re-open. Any enforcement action within public areas can only be undertaken by the police at present. Issues relating to social distancing within premises are the responsibility of the business owner, however enforcement options could be used by the council or the Health and Safety Executive if public safety is considered to be at risk by businesses not following the COVID-19 Secure requirements.

For latest updates and full schedule of covid-19 info, please go to https://emergency.eastriding.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/