Businesses bounce back with safe reopening in Kensington and Chelsea

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Since pubs, restaurants and other businesses reopened on 4 July, there have been just 11 complaints regarding social distancing to the Kensington and Chelsea Council’s environmental health team.

Council leaders have praised businesses in the borough, who have taken care to open responsibly, keeping staff and customers safe.

A team of Street Ambassadors has been at work in the borough’s high streets every day, chatting with local business owners to make sure they are aware of the support available to them and help them to follow government guidance.

Cllr Catherine Faulks, lead member for economy, employment and innovation, said:

“I am not surprised that complaints have been few and far between as businesses reopen in our borough. I know businesses have been working relentlessly to make sure they are getting it right and keeping their customers safe. We wanted an alfresco revolution and we are doing all we can – from pavement widening to fast-tracked licensing – to get our borough back on its feet, protecting lives and protecting livelihoods.”

The Council announced its summer trading policy in June, with ambitions for an alfresco revolution in the borough, encouraging outdoor dining and making areas safe for customers as they return. This includes fast-tracked licensing and planning measures for outdoor seating, flexibility to widen pavements and existing seating areas and the introduction of street ambassadors.

Local businesses have welcomed the new measures and new ways of working.

Adriana Zymberaj, recently reopened Adriana’s Café near Ladbroke Grove said. She said:

“Our primary concern is to keep customers and our staff safe, so to make sure our coffee shop was ready to be reopened we implemented a number of safer working measures.

“Thank you also to our customers, for your patience and support as we all learn to adapt to the new way of serving. First day of full reopening was a huge success and we are happy that we put a huge happy smile on our customers faces.”

Apadana Restaurant, in Kensington High Street, has been operating as a takeaway and recently began fully operating for dine-ins.  Owner Sarmad Alawi said:

“During 53 years of serving our beloved customers our authentic Persian cuisine, we yet look forward to this new challenge, using the latest health and safety innovations and precautionary measures according to government regulations and guidelines.”

The Council’s team of Street Ambassadors is made up of existing enforcement officers and community wardens. They have been speaking with businesses since 4 July, supporting them with social distancing, licensing and planning questions.

So far, the Council has supported businesses in the borough with a dedicated £500,000 fund for 147 businesses who did not qualify for government support. Applications are also open for the Local Authority Discretionary Fund, which will provide £2.2m in grants to businesses who weren’t eligible for business rates grants, to help with premises costs.