Manchester’s civic leaders are investigating whether the streets and squares of Manchester are suitable to be opened up as outdoor dining and drinking spots. The idea is to begin the city centre ‘recovery and reinvention’ plan following the coronavirus pandemic.
Popular drinking destinations such as the Northern Quarter, the Gay Village and, the pedestrianised stretch of Deansgate could see the pavements being covered with seating for pub-goers. From restaurants to bars, turning the paths of Manchester into outdoor seating means businesses can be back up and earning. The guidelines are still unclear, however, it is known that most will have to cut capacity by large numbers – meaning that larger outdoor areas are the key to survival.
Reports state that restaurants and pubs with outdoor areas could open as early as June 22. Two weeks before the hospitality industry had previously planned to open. Currently, establishments must have three types of permits to take their trade outside: planning permission to do so, a premises licence, and a licence for tables and chairs outside.
The government plans to relax restrictions whilst handing over power to local authorities to allow restaurants, bars, and pubs to expand their outside areas into public spaces. Communities Secretary Robert Jendrick has already announced that he is considering granting blanket access for tables and chairs in the pedestrianised areas.
Licensing and planning teams in Manchester are said to be putting a plan together to see if the licences needed can be adapted for venues to take advantage of during the upcoming summer months. Any plan put together will have to consider factors such as passing traffic flow, the interests of residents, the safety of the public, and pedestrian use.