Outdoor seating in Manchester to become smoke-free


In the run up to 4th July, when the hospitality industry was allowed to reopen, a series of measures were rapidly put in place in Manchester to trade on pavements and roads

Pop-up seating was introduced across the city to support Manchester businesses, and to help cafes, bars and restaurants with limited inside space to open safely.

Now that the Business and Planning Act 2020 has come into effect, Manchester City Council will now require all businesses who are temporarily trading under a ‘pavement licence’ to ensure that their seating areas are smoke-free.

While national legislation requires premises to set aside an area for smokers, the Council has decided to take a step further in line with its ambition to cut the number of smokers in Manchester.

Statistics show that Manchester has one of the worst rates nationally for lung cancer registrations, cardiovascular disease, male under 75 mortality rates from lung cancer and male under 75 mortality from heart disease.

Furthermore, with 6,000 smoking-related hospital admissions per year it is clear that there is much more that can be done to reduce the number of smokers in the city.

“The introduction of outside seating for the hospitality sector has been a positive step over the past few weeks,” says Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar.

“We are seeing the public enjoy a degree of normality, and we are also seeing our businesses pick up following the devastating impact of the lockdown. Many have fed back that the additional provision has saved their business.

“However, we have not endured one health crisis to sleepwalk into another. We know that in Manchester there are still too many people smoking and we want to play our part to ensure that the city is a place where smoking is not a cultural norm.

“Smoking is not only terrible for our health but is also an unpleasant thing for bystanders to endure. I am sure that after months inside the last thing people want is a face full of smoke when trying to enjoy a meal or drink.

“It should be said that progress is being made although slower than we’d like to see. Between 2017 and 2019 the number of people aged 18 and over who smoked fell from 22% to 18%.

“But, this is still too far off the national average of 13%. We want to get to this target, and decrease it still further.”

In light of new Covid restrictions that were put in place across Greater Manchester on 30th July, it is important to note that people are still able to go to pubs and restaurants with members of their household. 

In line with the national guidance, you can continue to meet in public outdoor spaces in groups of no more than six people, unless the group includes only people from two households.

At all times, you should socially distance from people you do not live with – unless they are in your support bubble.


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