Businesses need to start planning if they want temporary Covid changes to be permanent.

Fife businesses are being reminded that temporary changes they've made to how they operate during the pandemic will come to an end on 30th September.

Legislation introduced by the Scottish Government at the start of the pandemic allowed businesses to adapt their operations during lockdowns and other covid restrictions.  This gave businesses greater flexibility to make physical changes to their premises, such as outdoor eating or drinking facilities or extended opening hours, without the need for planning permission.

But the legislation comes to an end on 30th September so businesses that have adapted premises, amended trading hours, or changed services under the legislation, will need to revert to their original form or apply for planning permission to keep the changes they've made.

Pam Ewen, Fife Council's head of planning said:  “Many businesses have seen the benefits of Covid-19 relaxations over the last 18 months, whether through the introduction of outdoor seating areas, changes to the use of their buildings, extended hours of operation, or the launch of new services. Some will see these as a short-term reaction to Covid restrictions, whilst for many it will be part of their future plans to continue with some, or all of these changes. However, come September, local businesses will need to revert to their original form.

“To ensure businesses don’t fall foul of the change in legislation, we are urging them to apply for planning permission now and not wait until September. It takes about two months for an application for planning permission to be processed.”

Businesses can find out more about planning permission, at www.fife.gov.uk/planning.