Birmingham City Council has started an engagement programme with the city’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to help retail and hospitality reopen safely.
The Government’s phased reopening of lockdown will see outdoor hospitality open prior to indoor, with many businesses looking for new and innovative ways to serve customers in an outdoor setting.
During the re-opening of retail in Summer 2020, the Council delivered a number of supportive measures including:
- Footway widening in local centres to help with social distancing
- Footway widening in the city centre and the creation of parklets (transforming on-street parking in to outdoor seating areas)
- Road closures in Southside to create an alfresco dining area
- Improvements to reduce traffic and help with social distancing, walking and cycling
- Temporary Pavement Licences – for businesses looking to place seating on public pavements directly outside their premises.
Proposals for supportive measures are currently being developed through close engagement with the BIDs.
A cross-directorate group which includes representation from transport and connectivity, planning and regeneration, licensing and resilience has been set-up to ensure collaborative working across the Council and with key stakeholders to ensure any new measures are safe and practical.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward said: “We know how tough the last 12 months have been for businesses and workers in the hospitality and retail sectors and we’re determined to do everything we can to help them reopen safely.
“In addition to working closely with the BIDs, we are also having discussions with emergency services, local residents as well as other partner organisations and authorities, to ensure that the measures we implement are Covid safe and work for everybody as we come out of lockdown.”
Michele Wilby, CEO of Colmore BID said: “The past twelve months have been incredibly challenging for the hospitality sector, but with the Covid roadmap now in place, we’re hopeful that restrictions will gradually lift over the coming months, allowing businesses to welcome back customers in a safe and measured way.
“Throughout lockdown we have worked with the Council and partners to develop a number of schemes, including our own Parklets, to welcome the public back to the city as safely as possible, while supporting the economic recovery of the hospitality sector. We’re all eager to get back and we hope the new plans will help facilitate this in the best way possible.”
Details of the supportive measures will be confirmed shortly, with work expected to get underway within a couple of weeks.
Businesses can keep up to date on the latest licensing information and advice on outdoor hospitality licensing via the Birmingham City Council website.