An alfresco dining scheme launched in Liverpool has created space for a further 2,723 more covers across the city.
The Liverpool Without Walls programme, spearheaded by Liverpool City Council, created a £450,000 fund in June to help local small- to medium-sized businesses redesign outdoor spaces and turn them into covered seating areas.
It received more than 150 applications and has handed out £177,503 in grants to independent businesses.
Peter Kinsella, founder of Lunya restaurant, was a successful applicant and invested in new furniture and planters to extend the sun terrace at the group's Royal Albert Dock site, Lunyalita, doubling covers on the terrace from 30 to 60.
He said: "It was brilliant – you end up with a really good-looking space. In the Albert Dock I think everyone who applied for it got it.
"We bought better-looking furniture than we would normally be able to afford – they look great and this weekend will be the test with the 30 extra covers."
He added: "I think Liverpool has been ahead of the curve and understands how important leisure and tourism is for the city. If restaurants are doing well shops and restaurant are doing better too."
Liverpool's deputy mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, councillor Wendy Simon, said: "We're massively proud of the Liverpool Without Walls programme and the fact that the city council was quick out of the blocks in doing what it could to try and ensure the survival of this vital sector.
"We've been approached by a number of cities across the UK that have been following with interest what we have achieved and looking at how they can replicate it in their areas, which is a real compliment to the hard work which has gone on behind the scenes."
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