It is now easier for business to get licences to provide al-fresco dining to help with social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Changes have been made to the way in which premises in Watford can apply for pavement licences for outdoor seating areas.

Restaurants, bars and pubs in Watford already have to apply for a licence, but legislation has been updated making it quicker and cheaper.

The consultation period has also been reduced from 28 days to seven days.

Food and drink establishments that already have existing licences do not need to do anything.

The new law only applies to restaurants, bars and pubs that don’t have outside seating areas, but would like to apply to have one. Existing licences and granted licences will expire in September 2021.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “I’m pleased that the updated legislation will make it easier for food premises to apply for outdoor seating area licences. Where possible, the council will try and be as flexible as possible in granting these licences for businesses, which is now quicker and cheaper to do. I hope people are able to support our local businesses while staying safe and considering others. We must do all we can to help get our town back on its feet.”