The Square Mile’s restaurants and cafes could be given a new lease of life with al fresco dining, under new plans being drawn up by the City of London Corporation.
The CLC has announced that it will look into reallocating street space to restaurants as part of its plan to help them reopen safely after the coronavirus lockdown.
It means that deals and meals that are normally confined to deep inside the financial district’s upmarket restaurants and bars could move out into the open air.
Throughout the lockdown all 138 Tables and Chairs Licences in the City were suspended but, as the lockdown is gradually eased, attention has turned to how the hospitality sector can reopen for business.
The government announced today that hospitality venues will be able to reopen from 4 July at the earliest.
The CLC’s Planning and Transportation Committee has subsequently agreed that a bespoke approach must be taken to consider the resumption of outside trading in the City while social distancing rules remain in place.
It has agreed that licences will only be reinstated following a case by case review considering factors such as the width of space available, footfall of pedestrians, and what queues are likely to form for nearby shops and attractions.
Current estimates indicate just a small number of premises will initially meet the criteria, however, when social distancing guidelines are reduced to one metre, that number will increase.
The City Corporation will also explore the potential to reallocate lane space on some streets so as to make room for tables and chairs.
Alastair Moss, chair of the committee, said: “We know the resumption of outdoor dining will be a welcome shift, but it is vital that the return of social spaces continues to be safe for all workers, residents and visitors to the City.
“These plans will be kept under review as government legislation and guidance changes.
“We are ready to support the safe, sustainable and gradual return of people to the City, as it again becomes the thriving world-class centre for business.”