Irish Examiner view: Serving customers outdoors  is welcome but wheelchairs users must not be hindered

Navigating cafe and restaurant street furniture cannot be allowed to create an access  problem 
Irish Examiner view: Serving customers outdoors  is welcome but wheelchairs users must not be hindered

Cafes, restaurants, and bars must consider wheelchair users in their plans for outdoor dining. 

If the phenomenal response to shopping by appointment at Penneys last week is any indication, then non-essential retailers who open their doors today will be in for an early-summer spending boom.

Penneys got an overwhelming ‘welcome back’ when some 275,000 shoppers flocked to stores around the country. Other retailers will be hoping for the same response as they try to make up for the heavy losses of the last five months.

The prospect of an ‘outdoor summer’ is also offering hope to many others who are working flat out to put outdoor dining facilities in place. Before finalising plans, however, they might look to regions that opened ahead of us where wheelchair-users reported “significant problems” navigating
furniture placed by cafes and restaurants on the street.

As Joan Carthy, the Irish Wheelchair Association’s advocacy manager, said last month, while it is important to support businesses after a difficult year, streets must still be accessible. Serving customers outdoors is a great idea but we have to ensure that it will be an open summer for all.

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