One-off grants to help restaurants and bars develop outdoor seating areas should be made available to support the industry’s reopening when safe to do so, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Regina Doherty said “With the reopening of hospitality a number of months away following the publication of the revised COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery plan, I believe now is the time to introduce a one-off grant specifically targeted to restaurants and bars to help develop and expand outdoor seating areas. Provision of this additional support now will hopefully mean that more businesses will be able to reopen sooner as we eventually ease restrictions.”
“We are all working towards the easing of restrictions, but now is also time to prepare businesses through supports like these for what will hopefully be the end of our last lockdown when they can eventually reopen.
“Helping restaurants, cafés and bars to open or expand outdoor dining areas will not only keep people safer when restrictions are eased, it will also allow these small, often family run businesses to cater for a few extra tables at a time when it will be badly needed.
“I know outdoor dining is not normally an ideal option in Ireland, but I think that when people are finally allowed return to their local pub or restaurant, being indoors or outdoors won’t stop them.”
In relation to hospitality businesses based in large towns and cities, Senator Doherty also called for an easing of County Council rules and criteria for applications for on-street furniture.
“As a temporary measure this summer, I think waiving licensing fees for on-street furniture, as well as doing away with the need for a notice in the paper would be a hugely beneficial way to bring life back to our large towns and cities. Accessibility for street users should absolutely be maintained but I think there is a healthy balance to be found,” Senator Doherty concluded.