Limerick City and County Council has announced it will waive licence fees for outdoor dining and street events.
The move comes as part of a number of initiatives unveiled by the local authority to support businesses as they prepare to re-open this summer after months of lockdown due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The council will also be installing build-outs, which will increase footpath width, to allow for more outside dining in the city and across the county.
Businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector are being urged to work with the council to identify where build-outs can be located as well as availing of the various schemes available.
Until now, businesses could only apply for a licence for outdoor dining if there was sufficient footpath space outside their venue.
Now, the council will consider installing a build-out where the footpath is deemed too narrow for tables and chairs.
A council spokesperson said it would support up to 10 build-outs in the city and up to three build-outs per municipal district.
The council hopes the schemes will support the business community in Limerick to use any available outside space and provide dining facilities al fresco.
This waiver for outdoor dining was initially introduced last year as part of Covid-19 supports and it will remain in place for 2021.
A separate scheme will see the council grant permission for street closures for events such as community festivals, street parties and entertainment this summer.
Licence fees for these events will also be waived by Limerick City and County Council. The events will be required to follow the Covid-19 health guidelines at the time.
Councillor Michael Collins, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, is confident these supports will be very helpful to businesses across the city and county as they navigate their way back from the restrictions imposed by Covid.
These plans will go hand-in-hand with the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme, where businesses in Limerick, and across Ireland, are being invited to avail of up to €4,000 grants to purchase outdoor dining equipment such as tables, chairs, windbreaks and heaters.
A spokesperson said further plans are close to being finalised by the council for summer 2021 and will be announced in due course.
“As you can appreciate, the changing Covid-19 landscape means the plans must be fluid,” they added.
Vincent Murray, director of Economic Development at Limerick City and County Council, encouraged all businesses to engage with the council as they re-open from the Covid-imposed restrictions.
“These supports from grants to waivers will help businesses develop their offering as we head into the summer. It is important we send out the message that Limerick is the place to be this summer as we hope to capitalise on the appetite for social gatherings in a safe setting,” Mr Murray said.