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Soho venues asked to implement ‘no seat, no service' policy to avoid overcrowding in streets

09 July 2020 by

Westminster Council has asked hospitality venues in Soho to implement a ‘no seat, no service' policy to avoid overcrowding in streets, saying "now is not the time for street parties".

The council made the request as it announced updated measures ahead of this weekend to maintain social distancing.

The authority said that last week saw "certain streets in Soho experience isolated issues with crowding and concerns about maintaining social distancing", adding that it will use "all enforcement powers open to us" to ensure public safety.

In response council officers will be visiting bars and restaurants to enforce "a clear message of no licence, no trade". Enclosures will also be installed around outdoor seating areas in central locations with venues responsible for their own ‘alfresco areas'.

Councillor Matthew Green, cabinet member for business and planning, said: "Last weekend we saw a vast reopening of London's most famous hospitality areas, with a large majority showing a safe and successful example of the new normal for the city's bars, cafés, and restaurants.

"At the same time, we saw isolated instances of crowding in some of our busier areas. This is something that cannot happen again as we must ensure the safety of the public as a result of the Covd-19 pandemic.

"As we look ahead to this weekend, we will be ramping up efforts to remind venues of their responsibilities and the licensing rules. We also want to encourage visitors to the West End to enjoy the outdoor spaces provided by the council to bars and restaurants in safety and not to drink shop-bought alcohol on the streets.

"Let me be clear: there is no festival in Soho. Social distancing is still in place and now is not the time for street parties but for everyone to play their part in supporting the safe reopening of hospitality businesses that have been hard hit.

"Public safety is paramount and if these temporary plans don't work, we won't hesitate to go back to the drawing board, which we are sure no one wants to happen. So let's all work together and keep the West End and Soho in particular safe and open."

Picture: Shutterstock

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