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Smoking outside pubs, bars and cafes could be banned under a new law.
With businesses looking for ways of serving their customers safely as we come out of lockdown, more and more have been offering outdoor seating and dining.
But in a bid to prevent a drastic rise in public smoking, politicians are proposing amendments to emergency legislation, prohibiting punters from lighting up on the streets outside pubs.
According to reports in the i, this would see pavement licences only granted to businesses if smoking is banned.
The move has been backed by anti-smoking charities, who raised concerns over the potential rise in second-hand smoke.
Speaking about the proposed measures, Liberal Democrat Baroness Northover said she was concerned that outdoor eating could encourage a rise in public smoking.
She said: "Reducing smoking in public places has been hugely important for improving public health in the UK. However, with pavement licences being introduced to help support our hospitality industry, the Government should not allow this to become an excuse for increasing smoking in public places.
"More and more people are spending time with friends, family and loved ones outside. We must ensure that these new pavement areas can be enjoyed by all."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government also told the publication that decisions on licences would be made by local councils.
They said: "We are helping our pubs, cafés and restaurants return to work safely by making it quicker, easier and cheaper for them to set up outdoor seating and street stalls to serve food and drink.
"Councils will be able to set local conditions for licences. As set out in supporting guidance, councils should consider public health when setting these conditions."
As pubs have finally started to reopen their doors following weeks and months of lockdown, landlords have come up with a series of measures to keep their customers and staff safe.
But one publican in Cornwall went a step further than plastic screens and flyers, and has installed an electric fence to keep punters away from the bar.
Yep, that'll do it.
Staff at The Star Inn in St Just had just had enough of drinkers flouting their rules and decided that they needed a bit of tough love.
So, along with a notice asking them politely to keep their distance from one another and staff at the bar, they have installed a fully charged electric fence running along the length of the taps.
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