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Gearing up for a second weekend of safe hospitality

Wed, 08/07/2020

As London prepares for a second busy weekend of hospitality reopening, Westminster City Council reveals updated plans to address crowding concerns and keep public safety at the top of the agenda.   

On 4 July, Westminster’s 3,700 venues were able to open their doors for the first time in months. In order to enable hospitality to reopen across the city, Westminster has supported restaurants and bars in providing outdoor space for al fresco dining. While much of the busy weekend remained safe and successful, certain streets in Soho experienced isolated issues with crowding and concerns about maintaining social distancing which is vital to ensure everyone’s safety in line with national guidance.

In the lead up to the second weekend of hospitality reopening, the Council has rolled out the following range of updated measures to target these concerns and provide clear safety advice and support to reopened venues:

  • Local venues will be served clear reminders of their responsibilities and new licensing measures, with Council officers visiting bars and restaurants to enforce a clear message of ‘no licence, no trade’ for those wishing to welcome customers.
  • Demarcated enclosures will be installed around outdoor seating areas in central locations, ensuring that the space in the street is occupied only by those who are using tables and chairs and allowing venues to take responsibility for their own ‘al fresco’ areas.
  • Customers are being asked to book and plan ahead when visiting key dining areas, only going to venues when they have booked a table and space has been accounted for, and not gathering in streets where crowds could pose a threat to public health. We will be asking venues to implement a ’no seat, no service‘ policy.
  • Along with all our partners, we will use all enforcement powers open to us to ensure public safety

Throughout the week, the Council’s enforcement teams are on the ground to monitor venues and streets and ensure that all safety measures are being strictly adhered to. This service will allow swift action to be taken in the event of any concerns or overcrowding issues that may arise.

Cllr Matthew Green, Cabinet Member for Business and Planning

“Last weekend we saw a vast reopening of London’s most famous hospitality areas, with a large majority showing a safe and successful example of the new normal for the city’s bars, cafés, and restaurants.”

“At the same time, we saw isolated instances of crowding in some of our busier areas. This is something that cannot happen again as we must ensure the safety of the public as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we look ahead to this weekend, we will be ramping up efforts to remind venues of their responsibilities and the licensing rules. We also want to encourage visitors to the West End to enjoy the outdoor spaces provided by the Council to bars and restaurants in safety and not to drink shop-bought alcohol on the streets. Let me be clear: there is no festival in Soho. Social distancing is still in place and now is not the time for street parties but for everyone to play their part in supporting the safe reopening of hospitality businesses that have been hard hit.

“Public safety is paramount and if these temporary plans don’t work, we won’t hesitate to go back to the drawing board, which we are sure no one wants to happen. So let’s all work together and keep the West End and Soho in particular safe and open.”

For further information on the council’s hospitality reopening schemes, visit the following page.



Last updated: 10 July 2020