Calls for cafes and restaurants to be allowed to use public spaces

Outside eating area at The Duke Of Wellington, Cardiff

Restaurants, pubs and coffee shops should be allowed greater flexibility to use public spaces to cater for customers in order to accommodate social distancing rules and allow the hospitality sector to flourish once again, according to Llyr Gruffydd MS.

The Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd called on the Welsh Government to work with planning and licensing authorities to take full advantage of the public spaces available in towns and villages across Wales to help the hospitality sector can maximise trade whilst respecting social distancing rules.

Questioning Welsh Government Minister Julie James in the Senedd, Llyr Gruffydd MS said: “We’re all aware that the requirements of social distancing is causing a great deal of problems for many businesses that either have re-openend or hope to reopen soon. We also know of examples where pavements are wide enough to accommodate additional seating for cafes and coffee shops. 

There are town and village squares that could be used by cafes and coffee shops during the day, and potentially restaurants and, when the time comes pubs, in the evenings

There are parking spaces that could be repurposed to prioritise the needs of businesses over traffic. There are town and village squares that could be used by cafes and coffee shops during the day, and potentially restaurants and, when the time comes pubs, in the evenings.”

Llyr Gruffydd MS then went on to call on the Government to work with Local Authorities to ensure they can respond swiftly and responsibly to the potential of utilising more public spaces for such businesses.

Mr Gruffydd added: “Whilst we clearly need to protect pedestrian safety and be mindful of the requirements of disabled people and those who are blind or partially sighted, the Government must work with Local Authorities to ensure that they can be as flexible and creative as possible in allowing some of this to happen. With the summer months ahead, now is the time to do it.

“Many cafes and restaurants won’t be able to re-open successfully unless they’re allowed to use some of these outside spaces. We want to see these businesses thrive once again, and who knows, we may find that it introduces quite a different atmosphere and a more pleasant experience for those visiting our town centres across Wales.”

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