Galway City Council is being urged to suspend all charges for outdoor seating at restaurants, pubs, and cafés to support the hospitality sector.
Councillor Alan Cheevers has said the council should freeze the outdoor seating licence fee to support the hospitality sector when Covid-19 restrictions start lifting.
There has been deep concern expressed by businesses across the hospitality sector that social distancing restrictions will make it economically nonviable to full reopen, even as the country’s lockdown restrictions are lifted over the summer.
Café and restaurants will currently not be allowed to reopen until Phase 3 of the government’s roadmap out of the Covid-19 crisis, which is set to begin on June 29.
Pubs will not be allowed to reopen until August 10, Phase 5 of the roadmap, though publicans have warned that this will put many pubs out of business permanently.
They have asked the government to consider letting them reopen at the end of June, and the same time as other hospitality businesses.
“It is going to be very challenging with social distancing for this sector as businesses start to open and the outdoor extra seating will be important part of this to create revenue.” Alan Cheevers said.
Suspending outdoor seating charges is just one of many measures that will be needed to s
“These businesses are vital to the tourism industry in the city. At present many in the hospitality sector in city have expressed concern on the viability of opening with the social distance restrictions measures that will be implemented.
“I believe suspending the outdoor Licence fee until end of year will be a start and helpful. I am also asking the city council to credit businesses for next year who may already have payed.”
Cities across Europe and elsewhere are adopting innovative measures to try and support businesses which will still be operating under social distancing for the foreseeable future.
Many are considering pedestrianising streets and turning them over to outdoor seating for struggling restaurants, such as the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, which has turned many city centre streets over the pedestrians and businesses.