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Londoners are being urged to enjoy the City’s cafés, bars, pubs and restaurants responsibly this weekend as restrictions are lifted. Following a gradual relaxation of the Government’s ‘lockdown’ regulations, many of the City’s licensed premises are looking forward to opening their doors to serve customers for...

Londoners are being urged to enjoy the City’s cafés, bars, pubs and restaurants responsibly this weekend as restrictions are lifted.

Following a gradual relaxation of the Government’s ‘lockdown’ regulations, many of the City’s licensed premises are looking forward to opening their doors to serve customers for the first time since mid-March.

The words of encouragement from the Square Mile’s governing body are tempered by a reminder that people should continue to observe social distancing measures; wash their hands regularly; avoid public transport; and wear a face covering if social distancing is not possible.

In order to keep customers safe, establishments will be expected to offer table service instead of allowing customers to order at the bar and encourage contactless ordering amongst other measures.

All outlets will be encouraging people to enjoy themselves safely and responsibly, avoiding overcrowded areas and using the hand sanitisers provided, in order to reduce the possible risk of infection from Covid-19.

Alastair Moss, chair of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, said: “During the weekend and in the days that follow, my colleagues and I are looking forward to bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants reopening in the City, thereby, seeing a degree of normality returning to the area.

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“As long as we continue to follow Government guidelines and maintain social distancing, the safe, sustainable and gradual return of people to the Square Mile is to be warmly welcomed and encouraged.”

Sophie Fernandes, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Licensing Committee, said: “We recognise that the hospitality sector has endured very difficult times over the last few months, so the reopening of bars, pubs, cafés and restaurants is certainly worth celebrating.

“Further progress will be made over the coming weeks, which will be very good news for everyone who enjoys the City of London’s café culture.”

The City Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee has been considering moves to reallocate some street space to al fresco dining and is waiting for Royal Assent for a Bill to provide Pavement Licences.

Members agreed that premises’ tables and chairs licenses, which were suspended during lockdown, would only be reinstated following a case-by-case review considering five principles, including prioritising safety, having regard to new or existing public seating nearby, and recognising the need to nurture a thriving City economy.

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