Restaurants, cafes and pubs in Galway City will not have to pay outdoor seating permits when they are allowed to reopen after the city’s council decided to waive the charges once again.
The council took a similar step last year as a support for a sector which was shuttered for much of 2020.
Galway City Council said it was extending the fee waiver to allow businesses to operate under social distancing guidelines as the hospitality sector reopens. The waiver applies to both the temporary licences introduced by Galway City Council in response to Covid-19, where road space was reallocated to facilitate social distancing, and to established licences in place under planning legislation, such as on Shop Street or Quay Street.
"The hospitality sector in Galway City has been particularly harshly impacted by Covid-19," said the council's director of services for economic development Brian Barrett. "This sector brings vitality, services, and jobs to the city, and makes a very significant contribution to the local economy" adding that it would "play "an important role in the recovery of the tourism and retail sector in challenging times ahead".
While restaurants and cafes remain closed outside of those which offer a takeaway service under current Level 5 restrictions , it is hoped that outdoor dining will be able to resume in the months ahead and outdoor space will be at a premium like never before.
Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar has called for councils to support local businesses once they are allowed to resume trading and said they should do “whatever they can” to keep local businesses afloat.
Last year Dublin City Council allowed restaurants, cafes and pubs to serve food outside without a permit as long as they met key conditions including facilitating access to pedestrians and other road users.