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Westminster Council outlines plans to help hospitality reopen by unlocking outdoor space

17 June 2020 by
Westminster Council outlines plans to help hospitality reopen by unlocking outdoor space

Temporary road closures, widened pavements and fast-tracked applications for outside seating are among the measures being planned by Westminster Council to help hospitality reopen.

Areas to be affected by the changes include Covent Garden, Soho, Leicester Square and Chinatown, St James's, Fitzrovia, Oxford Circus, Mayfair, Marylebone and Paddington.

Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said: "The hospitality sector is vital to Westminster's economy with more than 3,000 bars and restaurants. They, and our many other attractions, are the reason people fly thousands of miles to enjoy the West End.

"So we are doing what we can to support our hospitality business through the vital summer months and into the autumn. The residents' groups we have spoken to have been very supportive as they know this is a temporary measure for the benefit of all of Westminster.

"The West End in particular is a unique global draw, and I am confident we can give it and our other famous locations a continental sheen that visitors, residents and regulars alike will enjoy."

The council has said some roads will be closed for certain periods of the day and walkways widened to create space for restaurants, cafés and businesses to put tables and chairs outside their venues.

The policy supporting alfresco dining will extend beyond the areas highlighted for special intervention as long as there is judged to be adequate space on pavements, and applications for outside trading will be fast-tracked.

However the council has said that businesses will be required to offer table service to outside seating areas and people will not be allowed to congregate for vertical drinking in the way the area is used to seeing outside pubs and bars.

The government has provisionally given 4 July as a date for the reopening of some hospitality businesses, although it has yet to give confirmation of this or guidance around the conditions under which venues can operate.

Picture: Shutterstock

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