Acting communities minister Caral Ni Chuilin is facing growing calls to use her powers to suspend the red tape for outdoor drinking licences.
Putting parts of the law on ice would see many smaller premises or those with limited or no outdoor space granted a pavement cafe licence in time for July 3.
It comes after Belfast City Council decided to start accepting applications for such licences as of tomorrow.
Under the Licensing of Pavement Cafes (NI) Act 2014, a landlord can apply for public space near the bar to be authorised as a legal drinking area.
But the hurdles to get one include the pub owner submitting detailed plans of the proposed area and a 28-day consultation period plus a fee, depending on the council area.
Although district councils are the bodies which grant the licences, the law comes under the power of the Department for Communities (DfC) - headed by Caral Ni Chuilin after party colleague Deirdre Hargey stepped aside temporarily due to illness.
The guidance document alone from DfC for applying for such a licence is 87 pages long, with the act itself containing 32 sections plus an additional schedule.
One bar owner who is hemmed in in terms of outdoor space by his site is John Bittles, owner of the iconic Bittles Bar, tucked behind Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast.
He told Sunday Life a suspension of some of the requirements would not only help places like his but also those outside the city centre which don't serve food.
"There's a lot of places which don't do food, which are small places and family-run so I think it's important that is addressed," he said.
"It's imperative that a suspension is in place for them to open on July 3 and whatever statutory body is involved, waive those restrictions in the meantime.
"We have all been closed for 14 weeks, we are all in danger."
The guidance penned by DfC mandarins to those seeking a licence under the act even advises on the type of tables and chairs which should be used.
It states: "Cafe furniture should be appropriate to the locality and be of good quality. Ideally, the colour and design of furniture should provide a contrast with the background to take account of the needs of those with a visual impairment."
It goes further and says that all the furniture placed outside must be able to be removed in no more than 20 minutes.
Belfast City Council charges a fee of £225 just for applying, whether successful or not, with a yearly charge of £55 for the licence payable after the first year and £112.50 if you want to make a change to the licence.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council does not charge any fee for applying.
Last night, a spokesperson for DfC told Sunday Life there are currently no plans to remove the requirement for plans of outdoor spaces and the 28-day consultation period.
"The provision of a plan of the proposed pavement cafe is a necessary requirement of the application process. The plan allows the council to consider the impact on pedestrians and the relationship of the tables and chairs to manholes, utilities, fire hydrants, cycle stands, litter bins and other items of street furniture. There are no plans to remove this requirement," they said.
"When a pavement cafe licence application is submitted to the council, there is a 28-day period during which members of the public can object to the grant of a licence.
"Councils are the enforcement authority for this legislation. The department would encourage councils to work with businesses on this matter."
The law, which came into force in 2016, brought Northern Ireland up to speed with the rest of the UK and the Republic to help develop a "cafe culture".