A simplified online application process and fee waiver has been put in place to allow businesses throughout Manchester to apply for outdoor seating space to help them reopen safely.
More than 30 businesses have already applied to the Council’s licensing team to request permission for the use of temporary outdoor space to meet government regulations around social distancing.
The move will help cafes, bars and restaurants with limited inside space to open safely for customers from Saturday 4 July.
Businesses who would struggle to stay afloat may be able to benefit from a change in regulations allowing them to extend onto the pavement. This would allow them to increase their covers to a sustainable level.
The Council will work towards being as practical as possible when determining new applications, and will continue to review other opportunities on how public space is used across the city. This will include liaising directly with operators to do all we can to find suitable arrangements to support businesses as best we can.
Click here if you think your business could benefit from a temporary tables and chairs license.
While we are not charging for temporary tables and chairs licenses, the fee will still be in place if a premises wishes to apply for a permanent licence.
Cllr Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Although the rules are changing at the weekend that will allow the hospitality industry to begin reopening, we know that businesses with limited indoor space will continue to struggle without help.
“We have waived any licensing fees for temporary applications to use outside space to help businesses reassure their customers that they can visit safely and social distancing can still be adhered to.
“This will be a change for many people but we are glad to be playing our part to support a valued part of Manchester’s economy.”
Cllr Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “Manchester's vibrant and diverse retail and hospitality sector not only plays a pivotal role in the cultural heartbeat of our city, it also makes an enormous contribution to our economy as it employs many local people. It's also a cornerstone of contemporary Mancunian life, where families and friends gather to eat, drink and meet.
"To support the hospitality industry as it faces its biggest challenge yet we will look at making streets more people-friendly by supporting road closures, including in the city centre where space is at a premium so that people have as much space as they need to socially distance over the summer months.”
Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s City Centre spokesperson, said: “As more people are required to return to work or choose to visit the city centre, it’s essential that we have prepared to ensure our residents are as safe as possible. You’ll see more signage as a reminder to keep your distance, some roads have already been pedestrianised, and we’ll see more outdoor seating as well. This is all to reassure you that if you need to be in town, you are safe.
“Manchester may look a little different in the coming months, but it will still be the city that you know and love.”
The Council is taking a safety-first approach to reassure those people who need to be in the city centre that it is safe - especially in high footfall areas, such as Market Street.
Extra signage has been installed across the city centre to remind people to keep their distance from others to help control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
A team of uniformed and highly visible street marshals will work across the city centre who are experienced in crowd management and can deal with any potential crowding issues quickly and efficiently.
Part of Deansgate has already been closed to traffic - and Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter will now be closed to traffic 7-days-a-week - to help people walking and cycling to move more safely while socially distancing around the city centre.
And pavements in the city centre and in local district centres have been widened around transport hubs to help people socially distance more effectively as more people return to their place of work.
List of streets that will be subject to Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders to allow people the distance to safely navigate through the city centre and to minimise pedestrian pinch points:
The Village/Gay Village
Wakefield Street/James Leigh Street