Chamber calls for initiatives to support Limerick outdoor dining this summer
Limerick Chamber has urged the local authority to transform Limerick city and county towns in support of outdoor dining experiences that enable Limerick businesses to make the most of summer 2021.
Responding to Tánaiste and Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Leo Varadkar’s call for an outdoor dining summer, Limerick Chamber has said that it is in communication with Limerick City and County Council about transforming the dining experience in support of local hospitality businesses and their customers.
Said Chamber CEO Dee Ryan: “We have an excellent hospitality offering in Limerick city and county with businesses pivoting in 2020 to make their premises safe and welcoming for visitors. The reduction in seating available for in-door dining due to covid dramatically impacted on revenue and made trading very difficult for all. Limerick City and County Council responded to that last year by making some parklets available and running animations for businesses and the Chamber is seeking for those initiatives to be expanded on for summer 2021.
“Even in the best-case scenario of vaccination roll-outs, social distancing is going to be part of our summer so it’s essential we enable restaurant and cafes to bring their business out onto the streets, serve more customers than they would otherwise be able to, and stay trading.”
Ms. Ryan said that she has been in touch with Limerick City and County Council in relation to an ‘al-fresco dining’ summer.
“One of the key things we are discussing with the council is the introduction of a simplified process for expressions of interest for the requisitioning of parking spaces directly outside of premises to facilitate putting out table and chairs. Parklets are preferable but we’d also like to see a simplified option for businesses with funds being made available for windbreakers and planting to enhance the customer experience and above all, temporary measures being put in to ensure the spaces set aside are safe for use.”
Ms. Ryan revealed that, importantly, the local authority has also confirmed that that the waiver fee offered in 2020 to businesses who availed of outdoor spaces will also apply in 2021. Traders must still apply to get the licence for outdoor tables and chairs but the fees will be waived.
“This is very important as it not alone means that the local authority is making the option available but doing so free of charge. In addition I am informed that Council officials are engaging with Failte Ireland to access new funding in support of animation for visitor experience of Limerick. The other ask we have made of the local authority is that they would look at greening of urban spaces with trees, hedging or flowers so that this year, of all years, Limerick stands out.’
Commending the Council on the outdoor lighting along the riverfront, Ms. Ryan continued ‘It’s been a really difficult time for tourism and hospitality sector businesses so it is essential that we do the maximum possible to enhance the ambiance in our urban locations in support of a summer reopening for residents and visitors.
“It is going to be an outdoor summer by necessity and the Chamber is committed to supporting the Limerick hospitality sector to maximise the months ahead.”
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