April is the month of alfresco.
Next week couldn’t come sooner as step 2 of lockdown easing is now on the horizon after the Prime Minister confirmed it yesterday and it seems the streets of Birmingham are getting preparations underway. With outdoor dining being permitted from April 12, part of a main Birmingham city centre street, and another nearby, are set to close to traffic as bars and restaurants prepare to offer an alfresco service.
Birmingham City Council will reportedly close the junctions with Bennett’s Hill and Newhall Street on Colmore Row once lockdown restrictions ease again. Waterloo Street in the city centre is also expected to close for around six weeks to allow for hospitality businesses to use the space for outdoor eating and drinking.
The council revealed the new proposals through its Birmingham Connected Twitter account, by tweeting: “Just the section from Bennett’s Hill/Newhall Street [of Colmore Row]. No bus services affected. We will share more details on what’s planned across the city centre next week. Looking forward to supporting many great venues across the city to reopen from 12 April.”
According to the government’s roadmap, from April 12 bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen but only to serve food and drink to customers outdoors. With the part closure of the road to traffic, which is home to bars such as Henman and Cooper and The Colmore, this will enable hospitality businesses to use the public highway for additional seating to increase the number of customers, whilst still adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Colmore BID tweeted: “Details are still being finalised for this at the moment, hence why no news. This particular project is being managed by Birmingham City Council, however we’ve consulted on it. We’ve got our own announcements coming very very soon!” They then later tweeted: “However, it is Waterloo Street which the changes are happening to.”
This news is a really positive step towards helping our city’s incredibly hard hit hospitality venues, and here’s hoping it’s something that will be replicated across the city of Birmingham and the suburbs too. Parts of Birmingham’s city centre also closed last summer, such as Hurst Street, to create an alfresco eating and drinking area in a bid to help businesses recover from Covid-19.