How Kirklees Council is supporting pubs, restaurants and hotels re-open

Kirklees Council said it is supporting the borough's businesses to re-open in the safest was possible.

By Ian Hirst
Saturday, 4th July 2020, 8:00 am

Following the re-opening of shops last month, the council has been working to support pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants to put in place health and safety and social distancing measures so they can open in line with national guidance.

Officers have been in touch with a significant number of businesses to help them work their way through the complex guidance and will be sending out information to their database of hospitality businesses with information on where to go for additional support.

The council is also holding a series of webinars for businesses beginning next week. They aim to provide further support on issues, and give feedback following the first weekend of re-opening.

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Coun Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, centre, with Coun Peter McBride, deputy leader of Kirklees Council, and Jacqui Gedman, Chief Executive of Kirklees Council

Councillor Peter McBride Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “We welcome the reopening of our local hospitality businesses and are here to support them where possible.

"The hospitality industry will play a big part in our blueprint and wider regeneration plans moving forward, I know businesses have been working hard to make sure you can stay safe whilst out enjoying yourself, so please follow the signs and instructions they have put in place to help you.

"Safety has to come first, which is why we want anyone venturing out for the first time should know what to expect. We don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun; by being sensible and following the rules we can all have a great time, avoid spreading the virus and help our businesses stay open.”

To help support businesses who want to increase space for social distancing the council will also be considering applications to use outside space for pavement seating.

An upcoming change in legislation, is expected to make it quicker and easier for premises to apply for a license to set up a pavement seating area on a public highway.

The new application process will reduce the consultation period from 28 days to five working days and gives the council a further working five days to decide whether to allow it.

The council is also reminding business owners that any change of use such as turning a car park into drinking area, or putting in place temporary or permanent structures may need planning permission, so they should get in touch before making changes.

Alongside social distancing and other COVID-19 issues, it is important that businesses consider wider risks such as fire safety.

Senior Fire Protection Manager Chris Kemp said: “As some pubs and restaurants plan their reopening this weekend, we all need to keep our focus on the measures that will be in place to safeguard people from the spread of Coronavirus.

“It’s also really important that businesses ensure that their fire safety measures are up to date and that any changes that have been made ahead of reopening are carefully considered.

“In practical terms that means things like ensuring exit routes are clear, that fire doors are kept closed and fire alarms are tested regularly. More broadly it means revisiting fire safety plans and risk assessments, updating them where necessary and ensuring all of the measures are still in place before the premises reopens.

“We’re working closely with local authorities and licensed premises across West Yorkshire to remind people to be vigilant and ensure that fire safety measures remain present in premises in order to keep staff and the public safe, this weekend and in the future.

“Further advice and a handy guide for businesses reopening after lockdown can be found on our website at www.westyorksfire.gov.uk or you can email [email protected]