CHESTER Market's popular Foodie Friday and Social Saturday events are to return from this weekend – in the outdoors.

The new pop-up outdoor eating area is opening on July 4 to coincide with relaxing of the lockdown rules for cafes and restaurants.

Located in the courtyard area to the rear of the Forum Shopping Centre, Market Al Fresco will allow Chester Market to revive the Foodie Friday and Saturday evening openings which were closed once the Covid-19 lockdown came into force in March.

Formerly the quadrangle in front of the Gateway Theatre, now the Forum Studio Theatre, the courtyard will be carefully managed to ensure the latest guidelines on social distancing will be met whilst enabling customers to enjoy the wide range of food and drink available from the market.

The Market Al Fresco will be open daily from 10am-4pm and, on Friday and Saturday evenings until 8pm, for a trial period during the summer; with tables carefully spaced to allow for about 40 customers at a time.

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: “I am delighted we have been able to revive the Foodie Friday and Saturday evenings, and allow our fantastic range of food and beverage traders to reopen and serve their award-winning ranges of street food and drinks.

"The past four months have been tough for our market traders but they have risen to the challenge and provided takeaway and delivery services; but our Market Al Fresco space will allow them to get back to what they do best and serve some of the best and most vibrant food in Chester.”

Stuart Fenney, of the Market’s Nice Bites stall, said: “We are delighted to be able to start serving our customers again and enjoying the great atmosphere of our Foodie evenings.

"Thanks to everyone for making this happen in such as short space of time; I think I can speak for all my fellow traders and say we can’t wait to reopen!”