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Dine out on City Hall lawn

Tables and chairs have been set up on City Hall lawn in the heart of Hamilton in a bid to encourage people to spend cash on takeout food from restaurants.

A spokeswoman for the city said the move was a part of a drive to support businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis.

She added: “As stated last week, we are collaborating with several entities as well as the restaurants to offer more options so that dining in Hamilton can thrive.

“The City Hall dining area is just a quick option for folks to enjoy takeout with friends, seeing as dine in is still not an option.”

She added that the municipality was still “fine-tuning” the plan, but more information would be released soon.

Restaurants are allowed to offer outdoor “alfresco” dining under phase 2 of a four stage return to normal life.

Indoor dining remains off the menu until Phase 4.

The move to allow outdoor dining was intended to help support the restaurant industry and get its staff back to work.

Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said the city had been in talks with the Chamber of Commerce and Government ministries to find ways to help businesses.

He added that discussions about opening up alfresco dining in the city was “very much” part of the discussions.

Mr Gosling said that some retailers in the city had complained about the “alphabet soup” approach to limit customers in stores by shopping days by surname.

He added: “I understand that the Government wants to limit the number of people inside a facility, but they have pretty well done so by having occupancy limits based on the fire code.

“We are also in a situation where we have had a couple of holidays that fall on Fridays, so a number of us can only go shopping one day a week.”

Mr Gosling said the Corporation had suffered because parking charge income had plummeted over the past few months of the pandemic.

He added: “We will start to see some increase in people coming back, but people are still working from home and as long as people remain enamoured with that we are not going to see the same revenues.

“But we are cutting our cloth accordingly. We are in a relatively good financial situation.”

Mr Gosling said the Corporation had also lost revenue from a drop in rentals of the Earl Cameron Theatre in City Hall and that the city had been forced to put improvements to the venue on the back burner.

Jessica Thompson enjoys the new outside lunch benches at City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 28, 2020 at 8:25 pm (Updated May 28, 2020 at 8:25 pm)

Dine out on City Hall lawn

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