Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.02 25 Mar 2021


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Galway City Council has decided to waive outdoor seating fees in order to help businesses with social distancing guidelines.

The fee can vary, but the cost to the council is around €40,000 a year.

Brian Barrett is director of services for economic development at Galway City Council.

He told Lunchtime Live they want to give businesses time to plan.

"We're working closely here with the tourism sector - and it's a key element of the Galway city economy.

"We're well aware of the pressure on the cashflow of those businesses that have been largely closed for over 12 months now.

"We feel that they are now starting to prepare to open for a summer of some sort - we hope we will have as limited restrictions as possible - but we want to give them comfort that they can extend their service provision for food and drink service outdoors and give them ample time to plan for that".

But he said the businesses still need to register for permits "so that we know who's doing what, and we can accommodate what's possible on the city streets".

'An expansion of their space'

He explained that this can also be applied to any businesses that sell food.

"It's for any businesses in the city that already have indoor seating and tables for selling their food and drink

"It's an expansion of their space in case there is a space restriction on them."

He also said he understands that Fáilte Ireland will announce an Outdoor Dining Fund "in the coming weeks."

"That will help businesses to purchase the equipment and the materials they need."

'Mixed feelings'

Fergus McGinn, of McGinn's Hop House in Galway city, said it is good news - but they are still closed.

"We welcome it from Galway City Council - 'tis very welcome and they did the same last summer - but we're not open yet and we don't know when we're open.

"Without asking for more already, it's the kind of thing you'd expect to see extended into 2022 for starters."

Mr McGinn said they do not normally have an outdoor area.

"The council did work with us, and the mobility team in Galway City Council were very engaging, in organising some of the car parking spaces be allocated to us.

"That suited my premises, but it didn't suit everybody in the city.

"So we do need to help there and to get more areas, where possible, to help businesses that don't have a space directly outside their door to get some sort of outdoor seating".

He added that they are now just waiting to see what happens around re-opening.

"We have mixed feelings at this stage, we had looked at kind of May and June hopefully - and, again working with the council, having some outdoor seating ready come June.

"Now we're just all waiting on figures and nobody knows - but it is hard to restart, we can't just restart in the morning.

"Brewers aren't brewing and producers aren't producing products, so from our point of view we need a roadmap... some sort of indication as to a timeframe to open up.

"There's people leaving the trade as we speak".

Galway to waive outdoor seating fees 'for a summer of some sort'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: File photo shows customers sitting on an outdoor patio at a coffee house in Galway city in June 2013. Picture by: Peter Zoeller/Zuma Press/PA Images

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Brian Barrett Failte Ireland Fergus McGinn Galway Galway City Galway City Council Galway City Economy McGinn's Hop House Outdoor Dining Fund Outdoor Seating Outdoor Seating Fees

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