From Monday, pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers once again, as long as everyone stays outside. However, not everyone has the space. Newcastle Council has a solution in the form of pavement seating areas.
45 new areas are springing up across the city as the council went into overdrive fast tracking applications to help businesses spread out onto the streets. It means Newcastle now has 104 businesses with pavement licenses. Grey Street which is being transformed to give space to people rather than cars is seeing a 140 percent increase in eateries moving outside.
“We are working with businesses to get up and running quickly and, with safety paramount, we have made it as easy as possible for the hospitality industry to make the changes they need to welcome back customers,” said Ed Foster, the council’s head of public safety and regulation. “Newcastle is rightly renowned for its excellent hospitality and it is important that those businesses, which provide jobs and a sense of community for so many, have the best chance of continued success.”
The council has sliced through the red tape making it easier and cheaper to apply for licenses for takeaway services and outside pavement style seating areas. They are urging publicants and restaurant owners to let them know about their opening plans so they can support them more easily.
He added that: “we know that, from the last year, parts of the economy can restart successfully and that people are capable of being sensible, social distancing and showing respect for others around them and we can only encourage the public to follow the measures that businesses put in place.”
Many pubs, restaurants and cafes have already signed up to the council’s Covid Compliant Assurance Scheme, joining the likes of Greggs and Arriva buses in demonstrating to customers that they have taken all the necessary steps to keep them as safe as they can.
According to research from the Council, 70% of Newcastle residents want to venture out as soon as restrictions are lifted. That’s putting pressure on the council to help businesses open safely with new outdoor areas offering a COVID secure environment for people to meet and mingle.
To support these new licenses, businesses are working with the city council and North Tyne Combined Authority offering grants of between £500 and £2000 on up. This can be used to make these spaces usable all year round with equipment such as outdoor heaters.
To comply with regulations all these outdoor areas must commit to being smoke free and not use gas fuelled heaters.
The application form and details of which businesses have signed up can be found at www.newcastle.gov.uk/covidcompliant