Shropshire Council

Guidance on outdoor spaces

26 February 2021 Last updated at 10:39
This is a news page and any information or instruction included within it was correct at the time of publishing. Please note that with the passing of time this may no longer be the case. Shropshire Council bears no responsibility for actions taken erroneously as a result of following out-of-date information held within old news pages. Please contact us if you are unsure.


On Monday 22 February the Government published a four-step road map for easing coronavirus restrictions in England.

Step 2 of the roadmap, which will be implemented no earlier than Monday 12 April, indicates that hospitality venues will be able to reopen and serve people outdoors only.

So that premises can plan for this, we have provided some guidance below on what the definition of ‘outdoors’ is likely to be when step 2 is implemented.

Under previous regulations, the definition of ‘substantially enclosed’ taken from section 2 of the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 has been used to inform what is an indoor and what is an outdoor space. It is important to note that the regulations under which activities in the roadmap will be permitted have not yet been published, and so whilst this is the most likely definition of what outdoors will mean, it is not guaranteed.

Premises, or parts of premises, will be considered ‘substantially enclosed’ (i.e. indoors) if they have a ceiling or roof, but have an opening in the walls, which is less than half the total area of the walls. This is known as the 50% rule. The area of the opening does not include doors, windows or any other fittings that can be opened or shut.

For the purposes of the coronavirus regulations, the diagram on the left would be considered ‘indoors’ and the diagram on the right would be considered ‘outdoors’.

Any premises considering the use of tents, marquees, gazebos or other similar structures should carefully consider whether they will comply with the definition of an outdoor space as described above. A marquee with a roof and four sides would not be an outdoor space. Igloo style pods or individual summer house type structures would also not be outdoor spaces.

It is also important to consider the placement of these structures. A gazebo with only a roof would in itself be considered outdoors, but if placed in a small courtyard with four surrounding walls within close proximity, the space may no longer be considered outdoors for the purposes of the coronavirus regulations.

Anyone who is unsure whether a space they are planning to use would be considered ‘outdoors’ should contact the council on or 0345 678 9067.