Calls to continue kerbside dining after pandemic
Kerbside dining has been an “absolute lifeline” for businesses and should become a permanent option, according to the Chamber of Commerce.
It was introduced as a temporary measure to enable restaurants to operate in line with Covid restrictions and was the result of collaboration between the City of Hamilton and Government, as well as industry and regulatory bodies.
Yesterday Karl Massam, head of the chamber’s restaurants division, said: “For those businesses who do not already have access to outdoor dining areas, it will have been an absolute lifeline.
“Any option which provides additional seating and therefore an increased opportunity for revenue to assist in the survival of our business is, of course, welcomed.
“We would welcome the chance to discuss extending the idea into a long-term concept. We have yet to be involved in discussions of this nature, so far City of Hamilton has full autonomy over the curbside dining programme.
“However, we would like the opportunity for dialogue in extending this to be a permanent arrangement.”
The CoH has indicated that it would like to see the arrangement in the city extend beyond the pandemic.
Dwayne Caines, chief executive for the CoH, said that the programme would be available for as long as it is needed, adding: “The City is prepared to do everything and anything within its power and remit to ensure the success of Hamilton’s businesses.
“We have a duty of care and obligation to support, where we can, any initiative that will help them survive their economic challenges and to flourish going forward.
“Hamilton’s businesses are the lifeblood of Hamilton and their ability to rebound and thrive from this pandemic is paramount to the vibrancy and future of the City.
“The City would like to see al fresco dining continue to be part of the dining experience post-Covid.
“Once the pandemic subsides, we will reassess the needs of the City and its businesses.”
Mr Massam said he believed that many guests felt more comfortable dining al fresco during the pandemic but added that outdoor dining in the city comes with some challenges including poor weather, noise, traffic, panhandling, lack of space, and lack of privacy.
Mr Massam added: “We can however take measures to combat these issues and make the area as appealing as possible. We are just grateful to have additional opportunity to seat patrons.”
Any restaurants and eateries looking to participate in the al fresco initiative in the city can contact the city engineer at email@example.com or call 292-1234, ext 230 for further information and to make initial application.