Customers wait for their turn to enter the Draper's Arms. Pictures: David Lowndes

In pictures: Queues for pub gardens and outdoor dining across Peterborough

Queues formed at many restaurants, pub gardens and takeaways across Peterborough as the first weekend of lockdown easing was accompanied by sunny weather.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 7:56 am

Many had to wait for the chance to dine al fresco or enjoy a drink with friends outdoors for the first time in many weeks.

Lockdown restrictions were eased last week and the weekend saw many businesses at their busiest since customers were able to eat and drink outdoors.

Outdoor seating will remain the norm until at least May 17, which is the earliest date indoor seating is allowed in the government’s roadmap .

Some businesses have chosen to place tables and chairs outside, while others have been innovative and constructed their own pods to make the most of the space available to them as well as allowing groups of customers to stay distanced.

Among those that have constructed their own outdoor seating area is Bean Around BE AR Coffee on Cathedral Square.

Owner Gareth Norman said: “It’s very exciting to be open again, we were taking online orders with local delivery but we are all very glad to be back out in the city centre again.

“I think cafe culture is a really good idea and we are embracing it. During the last lockdown, we just had tables and chairs outside but this time we’ve built these little pods for customers, with some more chairs one the oustide for people to use.”

The idea appears to be a success with customers Claire and Ian Williams, saying: “We’re really glad about the nice weather and the ability to sit outside.

“It seemed like such a small thing a few months ago but just to be able to sit for a few minutes in Cathedral Square and take in the views and sun is so nice.

“We like the pods, they’re sectioned enough well enough that you feel you’re not too close to others but you’re still getting the fresh air from being outside.”

The cafe culture approach to the city centre is in its first stages but by June four concept pods and outdoor seating areas, in Cathedral Square, St John’s Square, Bridge Street and Westgate, will be open.

Mark Broadhead, chair of Peterborough Positive, who are coordinating the reopening of the city centre, said: “The initiative has been designed to bring about positive change in Peterborough by attracting more people into the city.

“The project will help retain hospitality and retail jobs and improve business productivity.”

A Peterborough City Council spokesperson said: “The café culture approach has allowed many of our local businesses to re-open and welcome back customers whilst national Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease.

“It’s been great to see our residents enjoying the city and a return to shopping in a Covid-safe manner by utilising the café culture available since the city centre re-opened, and we look forward to more venues being able to return to action throughout the rest of spring and summer.”

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