A new scheme is set to help the café culture expand in Dundalk with funding to help coffee shops and restaurants develop their outdoor dining facilities.
The new initiative delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and Louth County Council will help tourism and hospitality businesses in the county to develop and increase their outdoor seating capacity.
Under the new scheme local cafes and restaurants can apply for a grant of up to €4,000 to buy items including outdoor tables, chairs, umbrellas, electric heaters, screens, wind breaks, plant stands and wooden platforms.
The initiative will also support Louth County Council to upgrade and enhance streets and public spaces and implement weather-proofing solutions to allow year-round outdoor dining.
This will facilitate medium to large scale, weather-proofed dining areas for a collective of businesses in a single zone or street.
Each Local authority can apply for up to €200,000 for a maximum of two locations.
The move comes as National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) member Philip Nolan recently said it’s clear “we’re looking at an outdoor summer” in 2021.
Senator John McGahon, welcoming the scheme, said: “Developing outdoor dining and socialising spaces will help to improve the vibrancy of our towns across Louth and bring them more in line with the European model.
“The new Outdoor Dining Scheme has two aims.
“It will enable individual tourism and hospitality businesses to increase their dining and seating capacity in the short-term and will also create a long-term strategy for our local authority to develop appropriate, permanent, weatherproofed outdoor dining infrastructure in Louth.
“This will support jobs and businesses and transform appropriate outdoor spaces across Louth as welcoming, vibrant places that will help support economic recovery.”
The Government and Fáilte Ireland announced the new €17million scheme for developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide last week.
The Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme comprises two parts and will be delivered in partnership between Fáilte Ireland and local authorities across the country.
Part One of the scheme will provide funding for individual tourism and hospitality businesses to develop and increase their own outdoor seating capacity.
Funding allocated under Part Two will enable local authorities to develop permanent outdoor public dining spaces in towns and urban centres, similar to those that exist in various European cities.
Louth senator Erin McGreehan said: “I would encourage tourism and hospitality businesses across Louth to apply for the grant.
“It is another grant to assist these businesses who have had to close for most of the last year.
“The part two of this announcement is very exciting, encouraging a European style of outdoor collective dining.
“This funding will uplift a street-scape to have a permanent structure in our towns.
“I look forward to seeing the results of this funding and enjoying the many beautiful restaurants and cafes we have.”
The Scheme opens for initial applications on April 12th 2021.