The City of York Council Licensing and Regulatory Committee met on 26th April. On the agenda (item 6) was a report about businesses reopening with pavement cafés which stated there were no equality implications surrounding this. We strongly disagree.
We took our opportunity to speak at the meeting and sent the statement below to the members of the committee beforehand.
Our main points are:
- when pavement café licenses are given to businesses in York, the needs of disabled people are not taken into account
- pavement cafés are having a big impact on many disabled people, for example wheelchair and mobility aid users, visually impaired people and people with reduced mobility
- for visually impaired people, pavement cafés put physical dangers in the way that can cause injury and loss of confidence
- we don’t know of any pavement cafés that have carefully thought about how a disabled customer would use the café
- the new public toilets that have been added in Parliament Street don’t include an accessible toilet
- social distancing is now even harder for many disabled people
- York city centre does not seem like a welcoming place for disabled people
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