As the hospitality sector prepares to re-open, Portsmouth City Council is looking at ways they can support these businesses to re-open safely and also explore temporary measures for outside trading, in order to help them survive the impact of the pandemic.
The council is looking to allow premises serving food and drink to use the space outside of their premises wherever this is practical. This could include creating what are known as 'parklets' - where a parking bay is suspended and could be used for other purposes - for example adding additional tables and chairs or a takeaway collection area. Where space is limited businesses will be encouraged to work together to share any available space creatively.
There is a national legal process for trading outside which usually takes about six weeks, but the council recognises the urgency in helping businesses and will therefore allow premises to start utilising the space as soon as they have applied for a licence, with the application then being looked at while they are already trading. Every business will have to ensure these spaces are being properly managed and insured.
Cllr Steve Pitt, the council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said: "We are committed to supporting the safe re-opening of hospitality businesses in the city and are looking for ways we can help them as we enter this 'new normal'.
"With government regulations on social distancing limiting their capacities, many of these businesses will struggle to make ends meet using only their current premises. We hope that by offering outside space, where it is safe and practical to do so, it will enable businesses to work together and be creative. Our Business Support team will be there to help.
"I strongly encourage residents to support our local economy by returning to their favourite restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars when they re-open but to stay safe by following the latest government guidelines, especially around social distancing. We will work closely with businesses and residents over the coming weeks and welcome feedback on how things are working."
Portsmouth City Council will be contacting hospitality businesses with more details as soon as the Government make them available.
Over the coming months residents will be encouraged to Go Local. The slogan 'Go shop, Go eat, Go safe, Go local' will remind people to think about the businesses in their community.
If you are a Portsmouth business needing support with re-opening plans call the dedicated coronavirus Business Support Helpline on 023 9284 1641, email RegenerationAdminTeam@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businessreopening