Pubs will be able to take customer payments indoors as a last resort when they reopen to customers on Monday.
Newly updated Government guidance says punters will be able to settle their bills indoors if there are technical issues.
Hospitality chiefs welcomed the news amid concern that some pubs might struggle to use card readers outdoors due to poor internet access.
Pubs and restaurants in England will be able to serve customers outside from April 12 as part of the next step of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Staff should take payments at the table if possible but payments can be taken indoors as a last resort if there is a technical issue, the guidance states.
Only person will be allowed to come inside to settle the bill and they will be told to wear a mask.
Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Hospitality will still only be minimising losses when opening on Monday so we are working to make it as easy as possible for pubs in these continuing difficult times.
“They’re able to take indoor payments if outdoor is not possible. Small but very significant measure.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, welcome the changes, saying it would mean customers were not forced to pay with cash at venues which might struggle to take outdoor payments.
She said: “We are pleased that the Government listened to our members’ concerns and has acted pragmatically in the light of our lobbying efforts, revising its guidance to allow for payment indoors.
“This change means that the four in 10 hospitality venues that are able to open for outdoor trading from Monday 12 April will now be allowed to take payment indoors.
“While paying for food and drinks at the table is still the recommended method, this amended guidance means that pubs, bars and restaurants that do not have the facilities to process a card payment at the table, such as rural pubs with poor internet access, will now be able to process payments inside.”
Pubs are also encouraged to assign a single staff member per table to reduce the risk of transmission and to use contactless ordering where possible.