PUBS, restaurants and cafes seeking permission for pavement tables are being urged to contact a local authority.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is working with hospitality venues to make sure their workplaces are Covid-secure and ready to reopen when they are permitted to serve customers outdoors - possibly on April12.

Already town hall staff are working with businesses to take the necessary preparations – which includes issuing licences for new outdoor spaces, including pavements and public highways where it’s safe to do so.

Cllr Phil Riley, the borough's regeneration boss, said: “Covid has had a terrible impact on all our businesses. We are trying to be as flexible as possible and will continue to work with them throughout the roadmap and beyond to minimise risk.

“However, we also want to reassure customers that if businesses aren’t working within the rules, we will do something about it.”

Denise Andrews, the council's business compliance and licensing manager said: “We are doing lots of work behind the scenes it to make sure places are Covid secure. Our advice to businesses is to plan well in advance and make sure you have adequate measures in place before you reopen.

"Hospitality venues that want to make use of additional outdoor space, need to plan ahead and contact the council. A fast-track system is in place, but a short consultation period is still required and permissions could take a couple of weeks.

"Applications should be received by Friday March 26.".