Outdoor dining areas to come to towns by end of month

Queens Square, Clevedon.

Queens Square, Clevedon. - Credit: Archant

Outdoor dining could be implemented in three towns to help North Somerset’s food and drink sector recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

As pubs, cafés and restaurants start to reopen, and as the economy begins to ease out of lockdown, plans to introduce al fresco dining have been announced.

North Somerset Council has developed a reopening plan which will offer outdoor seating areas to support town centre businesses, with free tables and chairs, spread out across different areas.

The new outdoor eating areas, which are expected to open at the end of this month, will be in Portishead Precinct, the Crown Glass Shopping Centre in Nailsea and Queen’s Square in Clevedon.

Mark Canniford, the council’s executive member for business, economy and employment, said: “Town centres have been hit incredibly hard during this pandemic. We now have an opportunity to support the reopening of these businesses and encourage people back to the high street.

Portishead Precinct, resurfacing work finished. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Portishead Precinct, resurfacing work finished. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

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“These spaces will enable people to sit comfortably while enjoying food and drink from nearby businesses and provide a social space to meet up and reconnect post-lockdown in a safe environment.

“We will be working with a nationally-recognised company to provide a quality offering and they will be managed and cleaned on a regular basis by the council.”

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Outdoor seating is just one of the measures the council is designing to support businesses in adapting to the new trading environment caused by coronavirus.

The Government is introducing a programme where businesses can install additional outside seating for a nominal fee through a fast-track route, to allow effective social distancing and encourage footfall back to town centres, which will also be adapted across North Somerset.

Crown Glass Shopping Centre and Colliers Walk, Nailsea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Crown Glass Shopping Centre and Colliers Walk, Nailsea. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Businesses can apply through the council’s licensing team for the fast-track option.

The council has also put in place measures to create safe shopping spaces for owners and customers to allow retail businesses to safely welcome customers back within the new social distancing rules.

Changes have included cordoning off parking spaces to allow effective social distancing with barriers that will be used temporarily during the pandemic.

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