Westminster Council has granted an extension to the partial pedestrianisation of 17 streets in London's Soho, allowing pubs and restaurants in the area to offer al fresco drinking and dining throughout October.
The scheme was initially introduced in June and saw a number of streets in the district shut themselves off from traffic, allowing existing restaurants and bars to offer al fresco tables. Famously, Soho venues are often small in size, which made it difficult for vendors to adhere to new social distancing rules.
News of the extension comes hot on the heels of the Government’s introduction of an evening curfew, which requires all patrons of restaurants, bars and pubs to have left the venue by 10 o’clock at night.
In an email to vendors announcing the extension, Westminster Council officials said: “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 scheme that we have in place to support al fresco hospitality for all businesses that wish to continue using them until the end of October. We will always put the health of our residents and visitors first while doing everything possible to support our city through these very challenging times.
“We will keep working with residents, businesses and other key partners to identify local schemes that could benefit specific locations at certain times in a safe manner.”
The update will surely come as welcome news to the area’s traders, who have previously lobbied for an extension of the scheme and claimed it is one of the only reasons that many Soho businesses have been able to continue trading.
Naturally, there are concerns as to how the winter weather will affect foot fall in the area, but traders are banking on novel ways to protect people from the elements, including parasols and outdoor heaters.
Happy to sit outside even in the colder winter months? Check out our guide to the best al fresco dining in London.