Soho-based hospitality operators are backing a campaign launched by commercial landlords Soho Estates and Shaftesbury to temporarily pedestrianise the area.

The Soho Summer Street Festival initiative was launched by the two firms in response to fears that certain operators will be unable to reopen this summer under social distancing rules.

Backed by restaurant and bar operators including Soho House, Polpo and Tonkotsu, the campaign is calling for a relaxation in licensing measures across the West End district for the duration of the summer, allowing sites to expand onto the streets.

The campaign proposes to pedestrianise streets including Soho Square, Carlisle Street, Bateman Street, Old Compton Street, Greek Street, Frith Street, Dean Street, Moor Street, Beak Street, Brewer Street and Romilly Street.

A further request from Westminster Council aims to allow businesses to set their tables and chairs outside in order to serve food and drink throughout the summer.

“With so many brilliant independent businesses in Soho, we are at risk of losing the culture that makes the area so special,” said John James, Soho Estates managing director. “Despite the awful effects of the crisis, it has been incredibly warming to see the community come together in such a way.”