Square Mile outdoor seating rules relaxed to help hospitality over winter ‘a sensible step’, say industry leaders | London Evening Standard

Amendments to the corporation’s ‘Al Fresco Eating and Drinking Policy’ “will allow many more premises to be eligible for a pavement license”.

Venues will also be allowed to install heaters in their open-air areas.

Chief executive of UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls, welcomed the move and told the Standard other local authorities around the country should make similar changes.

She said: “When businesses are up against it, we need local authorities to provide the maximum flexibility to help venues trade, survive and keep jobs open.

“This is exactly the kind of lateral thinking and cooperative approach we need, and we hope more local authorities follow this lead.”

Chris and Jeff Galvin, the restaurateurs behind Michelin star restaurant Galvin at Windows, also run French restaurant Galvin La Chapelle and Galvin Bistrot & Bar in the City.

They told the Standard: “These changes will allow us to expand the seating capacity of our terrace at the Bistrot & Bar. We are seeing such a high demand for warm, COVID-secure outdoor dining and we are thrilled that we will be able to accommodate more diners… The increased capacity will also mean that we are able to accommodate more guests from mixed-households in a COVID- secure way.

“This is the kind of innovative leadership that we want to see more of – we hope that the Mayor and the government take note. Although changes like this are just the tip of the iceberg, we are hopeful that for many hospitality venues in the City of London that this will provide a springboard to recovery.”

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The owneres of Galvin at Windows operate a restaurant and wine bar within the Square Mile 
/ Galvin )

The pair said that they hope the move will allow them to host larger numbers of corporate bookings who wish to meet and hold business lunches in the open air.

Richard Burge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, labelled the decision “a sensible step”.

Sophie Fernandes, chairman of the corporation’s licensing committee, said: “I hope this change in outdoor City policy gives venues extra flexibility to help keep trading over the winter months ahead.”

( The city is still seeing far fewer commuters than pre-pandemic  / AFP via Getty Images )

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Thursday that grants of up to £2,100 a month will be available for bars and restaurants in Tier 2, where a combination of a 10pm curfew and a ban on meeting friends from other households has damaged trade.

The funding can be towards rent or salary bills, and amounts to seven-tenths of a £3,000 grant paid to firms ordered to close, such as London’s nightclubs.

The Government is also to double its wage subsidies in all sectors for workers forced to go part time under the new Job Support Scheme, which is set to replace furlough next week.

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