Al-fresco dining area to give city-centre businesses a boost

A ‘pop-up’ outdoor dining space is coming to Nottingham’s Old Market Square from Friday.

The area, organised by Nottingham City Council and supported by Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), has been designed to support local food and drink outlets as part of the city’s reopening strategy from the COVID lockdown restrictions.

People will be able to buy items in nearby cafes, coffee shops and restaurants, which they can then consume in the Square. Alcoholic drinks are not permitted due to licensing restrictions.

The seating will be available from 11am to 8pm daily. There will be a regular cleaning regime in place, along with a number of sanitiser stations.

The Melt Bar & Grill will also be open selling summertime barbecue-style food, along with a small selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Consumption of any alcoholic drinks will be within a designated licensed area.

The al-fresco dining area will be complemented by a small selection of rides and attractions aimed primarily at younger children. The rides will be operated and maintained by Mellors Group Events.

Across the Square, all attractions will all comply with social distancing and other guidelines in place for the operation of rides.  All areas will have a comprehensive cleansing regime in place.

The build-up for the event will start this evening (Monday).

The news comes a month after the council was forced to announce the cancellation of both the annual Beach event in Old Market Square and the popular Riverside Festival, held on the Embankment.

Funding for the alfresco dining area has been sourced through a Government scheme and from the European Regional Development Fund. There has been no cost to the council.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, said: “We understand how disappointing it has been for people to see major events have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Nothing is more important than the safety of the public.

“However, as the school holidays begin, we were still very keen to provide a summer attraction for people in the city centre. We’ve again worked closely with Nottingham BID to bring this about.

“There may be understandable concern from some about coming back out into the city centre. We’re confident, though, that with social distancing and appropriate cleaning regimes and hand sanitiser stations in place, visitors to the Square can enjoy the space safely this summer.

“We look forward to welcoming people back this summer and hope that the warm weather shines on us!”

Lucy Stanford, manager of Nottingham BID commented: “It will be great to see an event taking place once again in the heart of the city centre and we are delighted to be supporting this event as part of Nottingham BID’s commitment to helping city centre businesses after the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. A lot of work has gone into this to create a safe and fun environment and we hope that visitors to Nottingham will enjoy the experience.”  

Paige Harris, Head of Marketing at Mellors Group, said: “We are extremely excited to be providing fairground attractions in Nottingham this summer. We assure visitors that we have implemented stringent health-and-safety procedures to ensure a safe but exceptionally fun environment for everyone.”

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