There’ll be plenty of sunshine seating.
So, we might not be jetting off to a pretty island with golden sands this summer, but it looks like the Mediterranian vibes will be coming to us – in the form of European-style al fresco dining.
Talks of pubs and restaurants being granted extra outdoor space amid the Coronavirus pandemic have been swirling for months during lockdown, and now it’s been confirmed a group of MPs are currently backing a bill to loosen restrictions on outdoor trading due to the reduced risk of transmission outdoors.
Expected to be brought forward today by the government, the bill will allow pubs, restaurants and cafes to serve customers outdoors (even if they haven’t before), with extra space expected to be granted by local councils to allow for outdoor seating.
The brand new legislation could see car parks and terraces transformed into lush drinking and dining spots, and it’s reported to be receiving the green light from Boris Johnson later today – in a bid to promote social distancing for hospitality businesses.
In addition to, of course, providing us Mancs with some great outdoor boozing options this summer (which Manchester severely lacks), the move is also hoped to give bars and restaurants a much-needed boost after losing months of revenue, allowing for more customers and safer conditions for both staff and patrons.
A government source told the Daily Mail: “People talk about the cafe culture on the Continent and we want to recreate something like that here this summer – you could call it al fresco Britain.
“It obviously depends on everyone adopting a can-do attitude to try and save the summer, but we are going to play our part by cutting red tape and getting out of the way of business.
“You could see closed-off streets laid out with tables and chairs for dining. We are removing the need for planning permission for outdoor markets, so you could see small shops and boutiques which are struggling with social distancing setting up market stalls.”
The news comes as Manchester’s Northern Quarter faces pedestrianisation – allowing for safer, greener streets through both Stevenson Square and Thomas Street, and coincidentally creating the perfect environment for al fresco social spaces. Deansgate was recently partially-pedestrianised to help with social distancing down the busy city centre street.