Pubs and restaurants claim marquees and tents count as outdoor space in bid to get around new Tiers

Danielle Sheridan
·2-min read
UK Hospitality said marquees and gazebos are a 'great solution' for new restrictions  
UK Hospitality said marquees and gazebos are a 'great solution' for new restrictions

Pubs and restaurants are claiming that marquees and tents count as outdoor space in a bid to get around Tier 2 and 3 restrictions.

Under current government guidance people must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place if they are in Tier 2.

In Tier 3 pubs must remain closed if coronavirus rates are high.

However many organisations have found a loophole around these restrictions through gazebos.

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, said businesses were deploying “lateral thinking” in order to accommodate customers under severe restrictions. 

She said: “Making good use of outdoor space can be key to optimising revenue, so marquees or gazebos can be a great solution, particularly with the weather worsening. 

“Some local authorities have already relaxed rules to let businesses utilise outdoor spaces. We hope that more follow suit.”

The coronavirus three-tier system explained
The coronavirus three-tier system explained

It is understood that Cheshire West and Chester are some of the authorities that have so far relaxed their rules in an effort to promote use of outdoor space.

The trade body said it had been frequently asked if gazebos constituted an outdoor space and explained that for the new tier regulations, indoor space is defined in the same way as in the smoking ban regulations, which states a place is indoors if it is deemed to be enclosed. 

They said: "Therefore, a marquee or any similar structure must not be wholly enclosed, or substantially enclosed to be ‘outdoors’.” It added that this meant it must not have sides that enclose more than 50 percent of the shelter.

Craig Pannozzo, owner of family wholesaler GazeboShop, said there had been a "massive uptake in gazebos" since talk of a second wave of coronavirus developed.

"We received a phone call mid-august from Wetherspoons deciding they wanted a thousand units mainly for outdoor hospitality so they can still work within regulations, as well as smaller pubs, like local Red Lions, placing orders,” he said.

Nick Mead, Managing Director of Eden Caterers, a corporate caterers which supplies offices and venues in London, said: “I’ve seen an increase in pubs utilising outdoor space, using marquees, tents and gazebos, with open sides, along with the addition of patio heaters to keep clients warm.

“It’s inventive thinking by publicans, who like the most in the hospitality industry are doing everything they can to bring in some revenue in this very bleak winter.”