Westminster's alfresco dining scheme to return this summer

24 February 2021 by
Westminster's alfresco dining scheme to return this summer

Westminster City Council's popular alfresco scheme will return this summer when hospitality is expected to reopen for outdoor diners on 12 April.

The measures, which allow businesses to operate with increased outside seating, originally ran from July to October 2020 and were credited with helping revitalise Soho after lockdown.

More than 560 premises were issued with pavement licenses and 60 streets were transformed with temporary closures and widening of pavements.

This year the scheme will run until September and support the same streets as before.

The council is also considering how alfresco provisions could remain in place for the long term, and will consult with communities as the city recovers.

Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: "Hospitality is a major employer in Westminster, supporting around 80,000 jobs and a big part of the reason people visit the West End. But with shutters down and doors barred, this sector has been among the hardest hit during lockdown.

"We have more pubs, restaurants and bars than any other local authority area – around 3,700 – and we want to see them welcoming back customers in a safe way.

"The majority of our residents have supported these schemes in the past and we hope they will understand the need to continue the temporary measures until the end of September."

Businesses with sufficient space in front of their site are being encouraged to apply for a pavement licence.

The council said it will look into simplifying the process for operators who also applied last year to ensure they can provide outdoor dining from day one of reopening.

Photo: Shutterstock

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