Residents are being reminded that Durham City is open for business ahead of the bank holiday weekend.
Durham County Council has been working with retailers and landlords across the county to ensure businesses can safely reopen so that residents and visitors can shop confidently as restrictions continue to ease.
With the county’s economy now on the road to recovery, visitors are being encouraged to spend time in the city over the weekend.
The council has been working closely with bars and restaurants to increase outdoor seating in the city, which can now accommodate up to 200 diners in the fresh air.
It’s hoped the café street culture will help bring more visitors to Durham as people make the most of the historic sights and heritage backdrop.
One part of the city to benefit from the extra outdoor seating is Old Elvet Bridge. Following the closure of New Elvet Bridge in July, the council has offered businesses on the bridge an extension on their agreed space to allow them to serve more food and drinks outdoors.
Each business has been allocated their own space and it will be their responsibility to maintain it, protecting both customers and passing members of the public in accordance with the latest government guidelines.
To ensure the city’s economy fully recovers following the pandemic, safety measures are essential, with businesses following social distancing guidelines, regularly cleaning tables and chairs and making sure there is still space for passing pedestrians with additional mobility needs.
Cllr John Clare, a Cabinet support member for economic regeneration, said:
“We are committed to helping businesses reopen across the county. We understand the value that pavement space has on the reopening process and the positive impact on attracting customers to visit Durham and eat and drink in our many cafes, restaurants and bars.
“Staff have worked with businesses across the city to identify the best solution that will increase their trade, attract visitors to the city and promote the city centre. By providing extra space on Old Elvet Bridge, as with other areas of the city and indeed county, visitors are provided with a unique opportunity to eat and drink in our historic heritage centre with Durham Cathedral in the background. The city centre is very much open for business again and we’d encourage people to visit County Durham, as there is so much to see and do locally.”
All businesses in Durham remain open and ready to welcome shoppers and visitors, including shops, the indoor and outdoor markets, pubs, restaurants and cafes.
The city’s main car parks are operating as normal and despite New Elvet Bridge being closed for essential repairs traffic continues to flow freely around the city. Anyone coming to the city from the south should however check the suggested diversions which can be viewed on the council’s website www.durham.gov.uk/newelvet.
Outdoor venues across the city are also ready to welcome families over the weekend, with an interactive mobile app even helping visitors to enjoy digital treasure hunts.
The Love Exploring App allows visitors of all ages to hunt for dinosaurs in Durham’s Wharton Park, providing explorers with an interactive map and facts about the park’s history, ecology and buildings before giving them the chance to pose for photographs with their newly captured, prehistoric friends.
Visitors are encouraged to download the app before their visit to ensure it is compatible with their mobile phones.