RESTAURANTS and cafes wanting to serve more people outdoors have been granted new pavement licences by BCP Council.

A total of 27 businesses across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have successfully applied for the licences as the hospitality industry opens for outdoor service.

A spokesman for BCP Council said just two applications have been refused.

"Already 27 new pavement licence applications have been granted across the three towns giving restaurants and cafés the opportunity to use outside space for seating and tables.

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"Businesses applying to extend their existing outdoor seating capacity have also been reviewed and checked against safety guidance."

Hospitality venues will not be allowed to serve people indoors until May 17 at the earliest.

Pavement licences are needed to place furniture such as tables and chairs, display materials and other equipment on the pavement utside a business.

The licences last for 12 months but can be reviewed and renewed.