A new €17 million scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide was launched this week by Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin TD, and Fáilte Ireland.
Welcoming the scheme, Fine Gael spokesperson on Tourism and Sports, Alan Dillon TD, said: "The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme has real potential to support jobs and businesses and to transform appropriate outdoor spaces within our towns and villages as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support our economic recovery.
"This scheme is divided into two main objectives; firstly, to enable individual tourism and hospitality businesses increase their dining and seating capacity in the short-term, and secondly, to enable a long-term strategy for local authorities to develop permanent weatherproof outdoor dining infrastructure.
"Mayo County Council will administer part one of this scheme locally and is open to individual tourism and hospitality businesses, including hotels, cafes, restaurants and attractions, where food is sold for consumption on the premises.”
Applicants can apply for a grant of up to €4,000 (up to 75 per cent of the ex-VAT cost of equipment purchased/installed ). Costs for outdoor tables, chairs, umbrellas, electric heaters, screens/windbreaks, plant stands and wooden platforms, will be covered under the Scheme. Expenditure must be incurred between April 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 and the scheme will open for applications on April 12, 2021 through Local Authority websites.
Part Two of the Scheme relates to Weatherproofing and Outdoor Dining Infrastructure, which focuses on the development of medium to large scale permanent public dining spaces in towns and centres in preparation for welcoming back visitors when it is safe to do so. Each Local Authority can apply for up to €200,000 under this element of the scheme.
Dillon added: "I certainly look forward to many businesses in the county submitting applications for the creation of outdoor seating and dining experiences that not only benefit locals, but are also attractive to domestic and overseas visitors when the sector re-opens. Developing outdoor infrastructure is a key element of answering the consumer demand for more flexible dining options."