By Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter
Croydon residents are being encouraged to ditch takeaways in favour of supporting the borough’s hospitality industry when coronavirus restrictions ease on Monday (May 17).
Under the next stage of the easing of lockdown, up to six people can meet together inside meaning many pubs and restaurants with little or no outside space will be able to open for the first time in 2021.
The rules will also mean that up to 30 people can meet outdoors.
A new outdoor dining space will be introduced in Croydon High Street for bars and restaurants to accommodate more people. This will be in the pedestrianised area outside Nandos and Milan Bar.
Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) is behind the plan, which it is calling Treat Out Croydon, and hopes that it will see more people heading out.
For the past month the BID has been cleaning up the town centre, washing down the fronts of businesses that have been shuttered for months, removing graffiti and cleaning up public seating areas.
Chief executive Matthew Sims said: “Hospitality has been affected in such an incredible way. With full opening from Monday it is important that everybody gets behind it and goes back to the places they love and experience what Croydon has to offer.
“We are asking people to support our hospitality venues, the only way we will begin to recover from the past 15 months is collectively and together.”
He hopes that the new outdoor dining area will be introduced from Monday or if not as soon as possible.
“It is about improving the experience for the whole town centre,” said Matthew.
“It will also benefit other places nearby, we are looking at ways we can attract people to Croydon.”
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