Concern outside hospitality causing problems for people with disabilities

There are concerns that outside hospitality venues could be causing access problems for people with disabilities.

The latest easing of lockdown measures in England allows for outdoor dining and beer gardens to re-open, with many establishments building new areas on pavements.

Disability Action Yorkshire have said there wasn't enough consideration from the government when it came to deciding if outdoor areas were appropriate.

Jackie Snape from the group said: "Disabled people are wanting to get out, they have had enough of being indoors but they need to know that they can do that safely.

"They need to know they're going to be able to manoeuvre around the streets that they are used to going around and that they have complete access to the places that they need to go.

"There is a possibility that these new rules with the bars and the cafes are going to cause an issue with access."

Ms Snape added that she appreciated that businesses needed to re-open.

  • Jackie Snape, Yorkshire Disability Action

Tess Daly has been shielding for over a year in Sheffield - she made her first trip out since March 2020 this week.

She said: "I'm incredibly happy myself that we can come to bars again, and I understand that bars have got a lot of money that they need to make and they're working with what they can but obviously space is tight and people like myself struggle to get past chairs, get past people, so it's just being mindful that there might be people that need you to scootch out the way or help you move chairs really.

"Wheelie bin day is an issue, cars on pavements are issues, so tables and chairs are obviously going to be a little bit more difficult.

It's not like we can just parkour over them and dodge onto the kerb and got around on the road, it is quite challenging, so that will make things a little bit more difficult, but like I said it's just hoping that people are going to be mindful and willing to help."

Last month the communities secretary wrote to councils asking them to relax licensing laws - to allow hospitality businesses to trade outdoors from April the 12th.

Robert Jenrick told them - not to let bureaucracy be a barrier to a great British summer.

Outdoor hospitality venues have to provide certain accessibility requirements. Credit: ITV News

Jackie said that there are simple things that can be done by businesses and people to ensure that people have access.

"It's a case of working together to improve access for everyone," she said.

"It's just a case of thinking could a wheelchair user get past here? If a visually impaired person was walking past could that cause a problem for them?

"One of the particular issues is where there are no barriers and people spill out further than they should, so that is on members of the public just to be thinking I should be in the area where I am meant to be."