Liverpool City Council’s £450,000 plan to aid recovery after Covid-19

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An afterwards world is starting to emerge. The pandemic has created an altered state of living. For some the work-place might become a study to work in from home. Perhaps safe, socially distanced spaces can be created at work-places where people do need to put in an actual appearance. For hospitality this is not an easy ask. Restaurant owners and staff face particular challenges. So the £450,000 represents an exciting and innovative plan to design ‘European style’ outdoor eating areas in the city. My own particular flight of fantasy involves a Venetian theme, with gondolas and Bridge of Sighs. Oh and a doge’s palace as backdrop, with water lapping at my feet.

WORDS: Jean Hill

LCC is working with Liverpool BID Company, that supports 1,500 businesses in the city centre. The Chamber of Commerce is involved, and a caucus of creatives and designers will be operating in ‘the field’. The fund will be used to help local independent businesses redesign outdoor spaces and turn them into high quality, covered seating and eating areas.

Liverpool BID Company is a private, not-for-profit organisation, working across two BIDs (Business Improvement Districts): Retail & Leisure BID and Commercial District BID. Their aim has been to create safe innovative spaces in the city centre.

It will ensure many independent bars and restaurants are able to continue trading safely, while also creating a whole new continental dining experience for customers. The transitional phase for bars and restaurants is not expected until early July. Yet the time is right to make sure, when the time comes, it will be as safe as possible to visit restaurants again.

The funding is separate to, but will be aligned with, a Government allocation of £443,000 for Liverpool from the ‘Reopening High Streets Safely Fund’. The announcement adds to the £2 million committed earlier this month to install seven pop-up cycle routes. This is all part of encouraging people to use an environmentally friendly means to get around, rather than public transport or their car. Obviously public transport will be there for you, should you need it.

Funding criteria are being discussed and the mechanism for applying to join the pilot project will be announced in mid-June. By this time, phased re-opening of retail will be happening, and impact can be evaluated.

There is a wider recovery plan. Details will be revealed in the coming weeks. Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool believes Liverpool is a really welcoming city that brings people together. Social distancing means that businesses need to be innovative about how they adjust and to do so in a responsible way, but remain truly welcoming.

Small, independent traders do not always have the financial reserves or the borrowing power to draw on in times of crisis. The Liverpool BID Company has LC councillors, Julie Johnson from Morecroft solicitors, Ian Silverberg and others who represent the interests of the city on the Executive BID Board. The plan is to take dynamic action to make a positive difference.

Liverpool will never be quite the same again. Yet the change might be really exciting and add a whole new dimension to hospitality and eating out in the city.

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