Coronavirus infections are increasing. Keep safe by washing your hands, covering your face and keeping space. If you have symptoms, please get tested. Learn more about controlling the spread of coronavirus

Westminster is open

Find out what you can do in Westminster and how you can stay safe.

More on coronavirus: residents, Westminster Connectsbusinesses, updates.

You can also sign up to our email newsletter for daily updates.

1. Extension of schemes to support al fresco hospitality

We've extended our al fresco hospitality schemes so that businesses can continue to allow outdoor eating and drinking until the end of October.

Read Cllr Robathan's letter to businesses - 23 September 2020

We recognise the importance of our business community as being key to the successful economic life of the city. We’re working closely with our residents to support local businesses, the backbone of our communities, and will continue to do all we can to help them. 

That’s why we have decided to allow the extension of the schemes that we have in place to support al fresco hospitality for all businesses that wish to continue using them until end of October. We will always put the health of our residents and visitors first whilst doing everything possible to support our city through these very challenging times.

Looking forward, we want to build on what we have successfully achieved together. We will keep working with residents, businesses and other key partners to identify local schemes that could benefit specific locations at certain times throughout the year in a safe manner that adhere to all current guidelines. This could include supporting events such as Christmas fairs or al fresco dining at certain times where it suits an area and enjoys local support.

We are sure that businesses will also want to continue to play their part by being good neighbours and ensuring they are compliant with all of the updated regulations, such as the 10pm closing for bars, pubs and restaurants from Thursday.

We’d like to thank everyone for their cooperation and feedback which has informed our decision. Through this collaborative approach we are confident that together we will support  our communities, including our businesses, so we all emerge stronger when restrictions are eventually lifted.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Rachael Robathan
Leader of Westminster City Council

2. Enjoy a night out safely

If you’re planning a night out to visit the West End, check out our top tips to ensure you have a safe night in the city:

  1. Call ahead and check to see if you need to book a place at the restaurant, bar or pub. Lots of places do not allow walk-ins, and you will need to leave your contact details ahead of time to help support the NHS Test and Trace service.
  2. Plan ahead to avoid travelling on public transport at peak times - you can also use our walkways and cycle lanes to move around the city.  Remember to wear a mask (compulsory on public transport).
  3. Keep your distance from people outside your household and respect others around you by staying at least 1 metre apart at all times.
  4. Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds - you can use the sanitiser stations across Westminster.
  5. When visiting pubs, bars and restaurants, follow the safety measures the venues have put in place and use contactless payments if you can.
  6. Remember, stand-up drinking in the streets is not allowed in the temporary hospitality areas that have been created outside bars, pubs and restaurants.

Enjoy your meal or drink, but stay safe.

3. Public movement

We have published our plans to provide new and additional space for cyclists and pedestrians in the heart of the capital to safely support businesses in Westminster and get the economy moving again.

The council has been working to develop these important temporary proposals in conjunction with local groups and businesses. This will include the installation of 20 low-cost, temporary measures across all areas of the city.

The move will put new, temporary widened pavements, pedestrian areas and cycle lanes in some of our city’s most iconic locations. Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly will see measures to widen pavements, change traffic lanes into pedestrian walkways, provide guidance on social distancing and pop-up cycle lanes.

In other measures, busy transport hubs such as Paddington and Marylebone stations will see social distancing measures introduced to ensure people can feel safe travelling into the area. 

All areas of Westminster will be covered by activity to encourage people to move safely around the city as the lockdown restrictions are lifted. 

Initial reopening projects - in progress

These schemes have been approved for delivery in the first phase. It is worth regularly checking as this list is subject to constant change.

Updated 28 August 2020

Strand, Aldwych gyratory, Kingsway, Lancaster Place

Additional pedestrian space and cycling on road with barriers, signs and lines

Completed projects

St John’s Wood High Street

Additional pedestrian space provided along the High Street using barriers

Bayswater Road

Creation of additional cycle facilities connecting CS3 to Broadwalk in both direction

Harrow Road, between City of Westminster boundary and Edgware Road

Additional temporary social distancing measures to be removed.  Cycle Lane to remain.

Knightsbridge and Belgravia (Brompton Road)

Installing barriers to create additional pavement space for pedestrians at retail areas on Knightsbridge.

Marylebone High Street

A short section of resident parking between Hinde Street and Bullstrode Street, but kerbside space for loading and drop- off and pick-up to be retained and there is parking capacity on adjacent streets.

Strand

Cycle priority scheme in place via road markings.

Harrow Road, between City of Westminster boundary and Edgware Road

To install pop up cycle lanes along the road and providing additional pedestrian space at pinch points by reallocating road space using barriers, signs and lines.

Northumberland Avenue

To install pop up cycle lanes north and south along the road by reallocating road space using barriers, signs and lines.

Queensway, Inverness Terrace, Porchester Road, Lord Hills Bridge

To install pop up cycle lanes along the road by reallocating road space using barriers, signs and lines.

Buckingham Palace Road

Pop-up cycle lanes and additional pedestrian space with barriers, signs and lines.

Elizabeth Street / Victoria Coach Station

Use of barriers to provide temporary  pedestrian space around Victoria Coach Station and at the section of the street with shops where the footway is exceptionally narrow.  Kerbside space for loading and drop- off & pick-up to be retained. 

Golden Jubilee Footbridges

Signage installed to encourage social distancing and no stopping on the bridge. Lifts will be operational. 

City Wide Cycle Stand Programme (hoops and racks)

Additional cycle parking facilities to be installed at key locations throughout the City in areas of high cycle demand, commercial areas and transport hubs.

Portland Place

Installing pop up cycle lanes to the north and south of the road.

Oxford Street (East and West)

Barriers on bus lanes to create additional pedestrian walking space, whilst maintaining access for pedestrians to use the bus services.  Additional pedestrian space to be provided on Oxford Circus by installing barriers on Regent Street.

Piccadilly

Creating additional pedestrian walking space along Piccadilly and at Piccadilly Circus by installing barriers along sections of the road from Green Park to Piccadilly Circus.

Regent Street

Creating additional pedestrian space by reallocating one lane of road in each direction North and South using barriers, but still maintaining access to bus stops.

ActiveStreets

As part of the council’s measures to safely support the easing of the lockdown, we are accelerating the roll-out of our ActiveStreets programme to provide new and additional space for children and families to get and stay active.

Our ActiveStreets programme consists of three types of ActiveStreet:

  • ‘Play Streets’ – a permanent designation which will provide priority over traffic to children and families to play in streets at specified times
  • ‘Street Play’ Sessions – facilitated by temporary road closures for children and families to play in streets at specified day(s), times and locations
  • ‘School Streets’ – School Streets are pedestrian and cycle zones outside the school main entrance usually in operation at school drop-off and collection times, Monday to Friday term-time only

We are introducing semi-permanent ‘Play Streets’, whereby during the days/times of operation, the streets in question will be closed to vehicles, except for access for residents, deliveries and emergency services.

Find out more about ActiveStreets and the locations of semi-permanent ‘Play Streets’.

School Streets

Increasing the pedestrian space at schools across the city. These will be simple barrier and cone measures for short periods of manged by school staff.

Vehicle movements will be reduced during the operating times of a School Street so that school children, their parents and carers and other visitors will have more space to walk, cycle and scooter, whilst social distancing.

Find out more about school street times and locations

Charing Cross Road

To provide additional pedestrian space along parts of Charing Cross Road. We will maximise pavement space by reallocating part of the road using temporary barriers.

Abingdon Street / Millbank

Create additional space for cycling on the road using barriers, signs and lines.

Lupus Street

Lupus Street (footway scheme) to be retained between Charlwoods Street and Alderney Street.

4. Schools

Schools have adapted their measures to make classes safe for more children and are doing so in a phased manner. 

Temporary ‘School Streets’ have been implemented, which involve localised improvements to increase pedestrian space at schools across Westminster, as an emergency measure until December 2020.

Read more about 'School Streets'

5. Shop Local, Eat Local

Find information about which local shops, bars, restaurants and pubs are open and where you can find discounts.

Shop Local, Eat Local

6. Markets

Markets have been open to traders who sell essential goods. More traders will now be returning to our markets, provided they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. 

Read more about the changes to markets

 

7. How businesses should operate safely

Guidance for businesses on how to operate safely, including signage, queuing and more.

Operating safely - advice for businesses

8. Libraries

Westminster’s libraries and the Archives Centre are open in line with government guidance with heightened hygiene and social distancing measures in place to ensure residents can safely enjoy all that our libraries have to offer.

Visitors to the libraries are asked to observe the government’s guidelines on social distancing, keeping two metres apart wherever possible and a minimum of one metre apart when further distancing isn’t possible. 

Library opening times and contact details

9. Playgrounds and outdoor gyms

Our playgrounds and outdoor gyms are open. Facilities are cleaned more regularly and have additional signage, to remind users how they can help to ensure these facilities stay safe and open. Staying safe is a team effort and it is still recommended to stay at least 2 metres apart where possible and follow good hygiene practice. In situations where that isn’t possible - people should follow the ‘1-metre-plus’ approach. This is taking more precautions such as wearing face coverings, facing away from each other, increased hand hygiene and minimising the amount of time in contact with each other as much as possible. For more information on how to keep yourself and others safe when using playgrounds please follow the guidance as signposted at each site.

For more information on our parks please visit our parks in Westminster page.

Visit ActiveWestminster for tips on how to get or stay active at home or search #StayInWorkOut on social media.

10. Leisure centres and pools

All our leisure centres across Westminster are open.

A range of measures are now in place to keep customers and the community safe. The full complement of measures are listed on our leisure centre partner's website at EveryoneActive.

Some services may have changed, and you may need to book ahead of your visit. Please visit EveryoneActive for the latest information.  Due to on-going improvement works, which started prior to lockdown, the swimming pools at the Porchester Centre and Queen Mother Sports Centre will remain closed until later in the year. 

All of outdoor recreation areas, including Paddington Recreation Ground are open as usual. You can find details on our parks and green spaces at Westminster Parks.

11. Registrar's office

Religious and civil marriage ceremonies and civil partnership

Religious and civil marriage ceremonies and civil partnership formations are taking place in England provided certain conditions around social distancing are met. Westminster Registration Service is currently finalising plans and protocols for reopening, in order to host their first ceremonies to take place at the Old Marylebone Town Hall.

Births

The register office is open for customers who have a pre-booked appointment only.

Due to the office being closed over the last few months, we have a backlog of registrations. To assist in dealing with this, we are prioritising the registration of babies by their date of birth and those who have already submitted the service resumption notification form. 

Visit our registrar's office page for more information.

Last updated: 24 September 2020