Hospitality businesses are set for another bonanza summer as the Government is set to scrap outdoor dining fees for the coming season.
Irish pubgoers and diners embraced a new way of living last summer when we moved our socialising outdoors to accommodate new Covid social distancing rules.
It was advised by health experts that it would be safer if we met up outside and this led to the hospitality sector adapting and customers following.
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And it led to great savings for the hospitality businesses too, with charges exemptions running into thousands of euro for those establishments offering outdoor dining.
The Government played their part by ordering the scrappage of fees charged for placing tables and chairs on the streets.
This all led to a ‘Mediterranean-style’ atmosphere with people eating and drinking outside all across the country last summer and autumn – with some good weather helping out.
And now the trend is set to continue after the Dáil passed a motion to refer a motion to approve the abolition of fees this year to a Dáil committee.
It will then come back to the Local Government Minister, Darragh O’Brien, who has the final say on these issues as the minister in charge of local councils.
But the Irish Mirror understands that the proposal is already being actively “considered” by the minister and so it looks like it has the necessary momentum and backing to get passed.
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Fees for outdoor tables vary across the country, but for instance, in Dublin City Council, there is an initial charge of €100 for a licence, space rental of up to €500 and an annual fee of €125 per table after that.
There are then also all the associated costs, such as insurance, with most businesses being asked to also obtain Public Liability Insurance for €6.5million.
It was welcomed by hospitality industry representatives.
The Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive, Adrian Cummins, said: “The Restaurants Association of Ireland welcomes the move to further exempt street furniture licence fees in 2022.
“This temporary measure was welcome during COVID restrictions but now as we learn to live with COVID it is a welcome measure by Minister O’Brien which will facilitate businesses impacted by increasing costs and inflation to broaden the offering of hospitality and bring it in line with European Cities who offer outdoor dining as part of Tourism and Hospitality.”
The Dáil formally passed the street furniture fees exemption without a vote on Wednesday afternoon after it was proposed by the Government Chief Whip, Jack Chambers.
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