Applications from Pubs, restaurants and cafes in Newcastle to use more outside space has been fast-tracked as the council supports the re-opening of more non-essential shops.

To adhere to the new guidelines, many businesses need to expand their trading space onto nearby streets to accommodate the space needed for social distancing.

Newcastle Council has received interest from more than 50 businesses about expanding or creating pavement spaces for customers to use.

Road closures could be implemented as part of the new measures, while neighbouring businesses are being urged to work together to maximise any outdoors space to ensure safe trading is taking place.

New Government guidelines begin from Saturday July 4 which allow licensed premises to serve customers, but two-metre social distancing must be in place.

Non-essential shops may introduce protective screens, one-way systems, and app or text message-based ordering systems, with table service to prevent the spread of the virus.

Cllr John-Paul Stephenson, cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said: “This is a difficult and challenging time but we are working with businesses to get up and running quickly.

“Safety remains paramount but we are cutting red tape as best we can and making it as easy as possible for the hospitality industry to make the changes they need to welcome back customers, including creating new pavement café areas.

“We’re encouraging publicans, restauranteurs and café owners to let us and police know what their reopening plans are, so we can support them.

“Starting on a busy Saturday is going to be incredibly difficult for the trade and we fully support any who decide not to reopen until they are more confident they can keep their staff, customers and the public safe.

“Where businesses are open we can only encourage the public to follow the measures that businesses put in place.”

Cllr Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture, said: “Newcastle is returning to some form of normality but we know that is a different normality to what we had before.

“Yet our city is resilient and ambitious, and we know businesses are determined to succeed.

“We’ve seen though, through the reopening of shops, that parts of the economy can restart successfully and that people are capable of being sensible, social distancing and showing respect for others around them.

“We now hope to see that happen again and that our hospitality trade, which supports so many jobs and makes Newcastle the vibrant place we all love, can quickly get back on its feet while ensuring the safety of staff, customers and the wider community.”

Residents and businesses will be able to raise any concerns or queries about the changes. For information about licencing in Newcastle please visit https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/licences-and-permits