Market Square event organisers "amazed" at popularity of dine-out event
- Credit: Archant
Saffron Walden's Market Square became a Covid-safe seating area in a bid to help the town's hospitality industry yesterday (April 5).
The transformation is part of a three-day event between Wednesday, May 5 and Friday May 7, which will be repeated next week.
Alfresco in the Square organisers from the Business Improvement District (BID) said they were pleased to see so many residents enjoying food and drink bought from the town's shops in the square.
Julie Redfern, BID Deputy Chair, said: "I think we are absolutely amazed.
"It was not what we were expecting this morning, to see so many people before lunchtime.
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"It's here to support our members because they have not all got the capacity to host customers inside."
Alfresco in the Square began at 10am and saw 79 visitors in its first hour-and-a-half of opening, despite a forecast of patchy rain and hail throughout East Anglia yesterday.
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The event is designed to support the town's businesses ahead of further lockdown easing, expected on May 17, when businesses can invite customers indoors once again.
Currently, businesses can serve take-aways. They can also hold outdoor dining and drinking, but only if they can provide social distancing.
Bernie and Steve Juden were at the Square with their granddaughter Amelie.
Bernie said: "It is a lovely idea, particularly now the sun is shining."
Residents Jean and Judith said they were pleased to be able to eat and drink together outside in the fresh air.
Jean said: "This is a mark of how well our town puts in extra work to keep us all together."
The event takes place between 10am and 4pm, and has been paid for by BID members.
The BID said residents are invited to consume food and drink from any take-away shop in the town on the square during the event.
Shara Vickers, BID Chair, said: "We really hope lots of people will be around and enjoy food and drink bought from our outlets, shared with family and friends!
She added: "We're excited to be running Alfresco in the Square."