The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has welcomed the support of regulations to assist restaurants and cafés at the Oireachtas Committee today.
The two sets of regulations which received cross party support include the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No. 3) Regulations 2021, which concerns planning exemptions for restaurants to operate as takeaways for the remainder of 2021, and the Planning and Development (Street Furniture Fees) Regulations 2021 which waive the section 254 street furniture license fees for the remainder of 2021 for tables and chairs associated with outdoor dining.
A third set of Regulations, which do not require the approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas, are being progressed simultaneously and provide for the erection of awnings, coverings and other similar apparatus for outdoor dining to be a licenced activity under section 254 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, when it is linked with a street furniture licence for tables and chairs under that section.
“We are all aware that the hospitality and restaurant sector, and indeed the wider tourism sector, have suffered the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, both this year and last year. They have been the subject of both temporary closure of business for considerable periods of time as well as other restrictions which have taken a massive toll.
“We know this summer will see a lot of outdoor dining and these regulations will offer some respite to businesses who otherwise would pay significant street furniture licence fees and have to make planning applications for coverings and awnings.
“Government are committed to providing necessary supports to assist these sectors as much as is possible with a view to facilitating their recovery as the current restrictions are eased and eventually lifted over the coming summer months.”