Parking bays are being suspended outside licensed premises around Portsmouth as the city prepares for the reopening of the hospitality sector.
The government requires the council to do all it can to assist with social distancing and in order to enable pedestrians and those on mobility scooters to safely pass anyone waiting to enter a licensed premises, the temporary removal of parking spaces will create extra space for all.
Later this month, government hopes to amend existing laws to enable space outside licensed premises to be used more flexibly and for applications to be processed more swiftly. As a result Portsmouth City Council is working with businesses to see where there are opportunities to temporarily use the space outside their premises to increase trade by enabling them to have a space to provide seating for customers to eat and drink . Businesses will still need to apply for a Tables and Chairs Licence if they don’t already have one. Normal charges will be waived and only a small admin fee will apply.
As the situation evolves over the coming weeks, the Council will continue to support businesses and will make changes if required to improve how this all works so that the available space is used safely and to best effect both for customers and local residents.
In areas where there are high concentrations of bars and restaurants such as the southern part of Palmerston Road and Osborne Road, other changes such as reducing access for motor vehicles is also being considered in consultation with the local businesses.
Cllr Steve Pitt, the council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said: "We are continually looking at creative ways of supporting hospitality businesses in the city so they can operate safely and so that our residents can enjoy going out again in as safe an environment as possible."
"With government regulations on social distancing significantly limiting their capacities, many of these businesses will struggle to make ends meet using only their current licensed areas. We hope we can help by offering outside space, where it is safe and practical to do so. We will regularly review any temporary measures that we agree to put in place and welcome feedback on what is or isn't working from both businesses and residents. We will consider if different measures need to be introduced, as we monitor the impact of venues reopening. All businesses will still be responsible for safely managing all of the space that they are using in line with licensing regulations."
The council has collated information and guidance for businesses reopening on its website which can be found at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/businessreopening. This will be updated as government legislation changes and details of any proposed measures for Portsmouth roads will also be added.
If you are a Portsmouth business needing support with reopening plans call the dedicated coronavirus Business Support Helpline on 023 9284 1641 or email RegenerationAdminTeam@portsmouthcc.gov.uk