Up to €400,000 is available for Galway City and County Councils to help develop permanent outdoor dining spaces in preparation for the summer, with more funding for hospitality businesses to increase their outdoors capacity.
The €17 million Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme was announced this week to help deliver additional capacity for eating and drinking outdoors this summer when the hospitality sector reopens.
There are two main strands to the scheme, Part 1 of which will allow individual tourism and hospitality businesses to apply for grants that will allow them to increase their outdoor seating capacity.
Part 2 of the scheme is aimed specifically at local authorities, with each council able to apply for up to €200,000 to develop permanent outdoor dining spaces in towns and cities.
Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said of the scheme, “The aim is to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our cities and towns as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery.
“This funding announcement further strengthens this Government’s commitment to the development of rural towns, as outlined in the ‘Our Rural Future’ plan announced earlier this week.”
The scheme is being jointly administered by Fáilte Ireland and local authorities, and will officially open for applications on April 12.
Paul Kelly, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said that it will help businesses offset some of the costs of increasing their outdoor capacity, and develop larger spaces in towns and cities in preparation for “welcoming back visitors when it is safe to do so”.
He added that Fáilte Ireland will work with the County and City Management Association on behalf of local councils to help design projects which will be “efficient and practical”.
Moira Murrell of the CCMA said “Local Authorities are looking forward to administering this Scheme for individual businesses, as well as delivering year-round all-weather outdoor seating options to boost the appeal and attractiveness of our cities and towns.”
“Following the success of the Street Furniture Grant Scheme, implemented by some Local Authorities in 2020, we look forward to creating outdoor dining experiences around the country that not only benefit locals, but are also attractive to domestic and overseas visitors when the sector re-opens.”
On its own initiative Galway City Council has already decided to waive Tables and Chairs Licence fees for outdoor seating in the hospitality sector until the end of 2021.