Outdoor Dining Adaptation Grant urgently needed for tourism and hospitality sector - Imelda Munster TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Tourism Imelda Munster has called on Minister Catherine Martin to provide outdoor dining grants for the tourism and hospitality sector, saying businesses must be supported in their preparations for what is expected to be a very different and difficult summer season.
Teachta Munster has said that an additional grant is needed to ensure that businesses can plan and upgrade outdoor dining facilities, given that the sector is expected to be relying heavily on outdoor dining this year, with Dr Philip Nolan, chair of the NPHET epidemiological modelling advisory group, saying “we’re looking at an outdoor summer” in 2021.
Teachta Munster said:
“We need additional funding for outdoor dining adaptation grant aid, to allow businesses to make improvements and changes that suit their own individual premises and business.
“There was disappointment and confusion last week when it emerged that such a grant would not be forthcoming, and that a previously announced outdoor dining grant is expected to be managed by local authorities covering only eight cities and towns.
“This scheme excludes the entire border and north west, along with thousands of businesses across the state.
“We need a fund, managed by Fáilte Ireland, that will allow businesses to access grant aid for outdoor furnishings, shelter, weatherproofing measures and other infrastructure that will allow a business to accommodate outdoor dining.
“We also need some understanding and support from local authorities in terms of planning, traffic management and other measures that will help the transition to outdoor dining go smoothly.
“This sector has been brought to its knees since the Coronavirus hit, and now we are facing into a second summer season of restrictions.
“Outdoor dining is central to how tourism and hospitality will operate this year. Businesses need support to make changes to allow for outdoor dining facilities to be put in place. Without this support, some businesses will be in serious trouble.
“We have to support them to allow them to have the best possible chance of thriving this year, and it is up to the Minister for Tourism to make this happen."