Restaurants welcome planning law changes; will 'save jobs and livelihoods'

Restaurants welcome planning law changes; will 'save jobs and livelihoods'
Eoghan Murphy:"The measures we are proposing remove planning barriers for temporary medical facilities, and allow hard hit restaurants adapt"

Restaurants have welcomed legislative changes which will allow them to operate as takeaways without planning permission.

The changes will save jobs and livelihoods, the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) has said.

Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, relaxed planning rules to allow businesses to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the changes, restaurants will no longer be required to get planning permission to operate as takeaways and supermarkets whose hours are limited by planning won't need to request permission to change these.

It also means any new hospitals, isolation units, step-down care centres or other infrastructure needed to fight the pandemic will be able to bypass the planning process.

Mr Murphy said: "The measures we are proposing remove planning barriers for temporary medical facilities, allow hard hit restaurants adapt, protect the supply chain, and preserve the integrity of

decision making and public participation in the planning process.

"We will keep the situation under constant review as this crisis evolves and respond to any emerging issues in the coming weeks and months.”

The Department said many of these regulations were designed in a 'business as usual' environment and, therefore, should not act as a barrier during the Covid-19 crisis.

The RAI welcomed the changes which, it said, will safeguard the future of many in the industry.

"This is a difficult and unprecedented time for restaurants and cafes, who are suffering huge loses in income due to the Covid-19 pandemic," said Adrian Cummins, CEO RAI.

"This change will mean that restaurants and cafes who have not previously operated as takeaways can immediately begin to operate that service for their customers. This will prevent many restaurants and cafes from having to completely shut their doors, and will save jobs and livelihoods.

"Our top priority is to stop the spread of this pandemic, but special permissions like this will help to safeguard Irish businesses."

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