The regulations for off-site consumption will now remain relaxed until March 2025, the Government announced yesterday.
Speaking to The Morning Advertiser, Poppleston Allen partner James Anderson said: “The Government’s decision is a welcome reversal of its preliminary view in July that automatic off sales introduced to help the industry during the pandemic should end.
“The industry is facing numerous challenges and the addition of off sales effectively allowing delivery/take away and more opportunity for external drinking at pubs with restriction does not seem to have caused great issue.”
He said that this was, therefore, a progressive and “very pub friendly” extension of the off sales relaxation.
Under the relaxed regulations, which were due to expire in September, any site permitted to sell alcohol on their premises can sell for off-site consumption as well without having to apply for a new license.
Premises will also be able to continue to serve alcohol in the area covered by any pavement licence that they have.
The British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said the trade body “wholeheartedly welcomed” the Government’s decision to let pubs keep selling takeaway pints.
The decision follows campaigning from trade bodies to extend the relaxed licensing in support of the hospitality sector.
McClarkin said: “This policy supported our pubs through the dark days of the pandemic and going forward it will allow them to diversify, particularly in warm and sunny weather when people want to make the most of not only local pubs, but parks and other public spaces as well.
“The Government recognises the value our industry adds to communities and high streets across the country, and we look forward to working with them to bring forward further measures, such as business rates reform, to further unlock the potential of local pubs up and down the country.”
The Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill said the trade body welcomed the extension of the relaxed laws, which was a “significant boost” for the industry.
He added: “The move is a proactive step towards our industry's revival, but we must encourage Government to take further steps in considering a more pragmatic approach to deregulation and easements, allowing businesses to maximise trading opportunities at this difficult time.”
Before the licensing rules were relaxed in the pandemic, regulations meant pubs with an on-site license would have to go through an added process to amend their licence if they wanted to serve alcohol for off-site consumption.
This took time, paperwork and cost them money.
Policing minister Chris Philp said: “It is vital that we do everything we can to support British pubs. They are a cornerstone of every community, and a beating heart in our growing economy.
“The hospitality industry has faced a tough couple of years, and by relaxing this red tape we will give our pubs and bars the support they need to thrive.”
The extension has been made through amendments to the Licensing Act 2003 and applies to both England and Wales.