Food for thought: Wicklow TD calls for restaurants to be allowed use public footpaths
We might find ourselves eating a lot more al fresco in the coming months and one TD in Wicklow is calling on the council to allow restaurants and cafes to be able to use public footpaths without incurring extra charges.
Green Party spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Steven Matthews TD has called on Local Authorities to consider allowing businesses access to the public footpath in some areas of town centres free of charge this summer to help with social distancing.
He also suggests making some urban areas car free following trial runs in Dublin City Centre and elsewhere.
“First and foremost this is still a public health crisis and any new measures must be taken in light of medical advice,” he says.
“However, whenever businesses are able to begin to reopen, they will need as much support as possible to adapt to social distancing measures which will likely be a part of our lives till at least the end of the summer.
“We need to start examining possible solutions and one could be to make some streets in towns and cities across the country car-free during business hours this summer.
“This will allow sufficient access for pedestrians and cyclists but also give business owners and patrons enough space to operate safely. Any changes in the planning process would require significant examination of accessibility and safety but it is possible.
“We have seen the benefits that car free zones had in trials in different urban areas including increasing footfall and improved air quality.
“The additional requirement for more pedestrian space brought about by Covid-19 means that our local authorities need to act on this now, before lockdown measures are eased more.
“This wouldn’t need to be every street or even every town, but these are the sort of solutions local authorities need to look at to keep businesses going. I hope this is something that each local authority can examine.”