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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

17 May 2021

| | 4 min read


Hospitality trade combining indoors with outdoors as lockdown eased further

More pubs, bars and restaurants are going al fresco with the number of pavement cafes in Newcastle increasing as lockdown eases further.

A pint of beer on a bar. Text: More pavement cafes created ahead of indoor reopening. Pubs, bars and restaurants are combining the return of indoor hospitality with making more of outside spaces –with new pavement licenses in Newcastle up by more than a quarter since April 12.

Monday May 17 allows many businesses, also including cinemas, children’s play areas, and hotels, to reopen indoors.

And a number of hospitality trade venues are taking the opportunity to combine that with making more of outside spaces – with new pavement licenses in the city up by more than a quarter since April 12.

That means that since last year the number of pavement café areas has risen more than 130 percent from 59 to 136, with more applications still being processed.

Ongoing concerns about Covid-19 mean there is caution at Step Three of the Government’s lockdown easing roadmap, but businesses that are already back up and running have been praised for their efforts to keep the public safe.

'Keep up the good work'

Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture said: “Our message to businesses is very much keep up the good work.

“Over the last few weeks the city has looked and felt vibrant again and we can only thank everyone for all they are doing to keep themselves, their staff and customers as safe as they can be.

“Of course, Covid-19 has not been defeated and as people are once again – from Monday May 17 - freer to mix with others this presents greater opportunities for the virus to spread.

“We therefore must continue to do everything we can to prevent infections and their potentially devastating consequences.”

'A testament to the hard work of businesses'

Newcastle City Council’s public safety and regulation team has continued to work closely with businesses, and with partners such as NE1, to support the next phase of restriction lifting.

Stephen Patterson, director of communications at NE1 Ltd said: “The huge increase in outdoor pavement cafes is testament to the hard work that businesses across the city have put into making their premises as safe as possible for reopening.

“Thanks to the teamwork between these businesses, the council and NE1 more outdoor areas were licensed and operational in time for the easing of lockdown.

“It has been phenomenal to see people back in the city and Newcastle buzzing, playing to its strengths as a modern, European regional capital city.

“We have always known that Newcastle has some of the most beautiful streets in Europe and now all the outdoor dining and leisure provision has transformed the city centre leisure offer.

“The city has emerged from its Covid cocoon and is beautiful to behold.

“Businesses and the public have done the city proud and will continue to work together to provide safe environments for both staff and customers."

Key things to remember

The key things to remember if visiting a hospitality business from Monday are:

  • Every customer over the age of 16 must scan the NHS QR code (or if they don’t have a smartphone, provide the venue with their details) not just whoever made a booking.
  • Whether indoors or outdoors it will be table service only, and you’ll order either through a member of waiting staff or an app
  • Two households (of any size), or up to six people from separate households, can share a table, and you cannot gather in groups of more than 30 persons.
  • You don’t have to buy food when ordering alcohol.
  • You must wear a face covering when not seated at your table.
  • Venues are prohibited from providing smoking equipment such as shisha pipes for use on their premises.
  • Think Hands – Face – Space – Fresh Air

Covid Compliant Assurance Scheme

And as part of efforts to reassure residents and visitors that it is safe to return to Newcastle’s shops and businesses almost 150 organisations have now been accredited through the Covid Compliant Assurance Scheme.

More than half of them are pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes, details of which can be found on an interactive map at, or by looking for a big purple tick on their certification in their windows.