There will be more market space for traders and licences will be fast-tracked to allow food businesses to make better use of outdoor space.

St Albans District Council has announced some measures to help hospitality businesses in the district.

Food and drink establishments have been reducing the number of customers they allow inside due to social-distancing rules.

But the council says it will fast-track licence applications that will allow the them to put tables and chairs outside on pavements.

Streets in city centre such as the High Street and George Street have been closed to traffic and pedestrianised to make eating outdoors viable.

Government legislation introduced his month has streamlined the process for temporary pavement licences at a cost of £100.

The new rules also allow any premise with an alcohol licence to sell takeaway drinks during their normal business hours or up to 11pm at the latest. For more information go to

Cllr Mandy McNeil responsible for business, tourism and culture said: "Our hospitality industry that provides many local jobs has been among the biggest victims of the economic downturn caused by Covid-19.

"We are doing everything we can to help them bounce back and pavement seating offers a valuable opportunity for them to service the same number of customers as normal and maintain their revenues."

The council said it also wants to help traders in Charter Market who have been impacted.

The number of stalls allowed in St Peter's Street during Wednesday and Saturday markets has been reduced to around half as a result of social-distancing rules.

To counter this the council says to boost the number of stalls, traders are being allowed to set up on the newly pedestrianised High Street and on the public space near the Alban Arena.

This area will be called Charter Market Fringe and will launch this Saturday (August 1) , if it is successful the council says it will make it a permanent feature.

But no new market traders will be accepted while the council works to keep the established businesses afloat.

Cllr McNeil added: "We're committed to helping all our wonderful traders to get through the challenges posed by the pandemic.

"Boosting the market and allowing for more pavement seating at pubs, cafes and restaurants will give our city centre a lift at this difficult time and help preserve the jobs of many people who work there."