Westminster Council has announced that it will repeat last year's outdoor dining scheme, which closed dozens of Central London streets to traffic, allowing pubs and restaurants in the area to offer al fresco drinking and dining.
The scheme was initially introduced in June 2020 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 social distancing rules.
The decision to reprise last year's scheme will mean that 60 streets in total will be pedestrianised across Soho, Covent Garden, Chinatown, Fitzrovia, Oxford Circus, Paddington and Marylebone, allowing numerous eateries to apply for pavement licenses. The scheme is set to begin on 12 April when outdoor dining it set to be allowed again under the government's roadmap out of lockdown, and will last until at least September 2021.
Leader of Westminster city council, Rachael Robanthan said: "Hospitality is a major employer in Westminster supporting around 80,000 jobs and a big part of the reason people visit the West End. But with shutters down and doors barred, this sector has been amongst the hardest hit during lockdown."
"We know how hard this has been, which is why we are relaunching our al fresco scheme as soon as the easing of restrictions allows to help struggling businesses as much as we can."
The update will surely come as welcome news to many of the area’s traders, many of whom without the scheme would not have been able to open in April.
Wanting to book ahead for some outdoor meals in April? Check out our guide to the best al fresco dining in London.