The Government is extending emergency Covid-19 legislation that allows for pubs and restaurants to serve alcohol in outdoor seating areas.
Cabinet approved the six-month extension of the legislation until November 30.
The legislation applies to areas where outdoor seating areas have been approved by the relevant local authority on public land, such as a path or an adjoining area to the licenced premises.
Alcohol may be sold in these areas until 11pm under the legislation.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said in a post-Cabinet briefing that the emergency legislation is being extended ahead of the “busy” summer period.
“What I brought forward today is an extension of what is an emergency measure.
“So in order to put this on a more permanent footing, it’s something that we would have to introduce as legislation.
“I believe the reform of licencing is the appropriate place and would be the appropriate bill to make these changes,” Ms McEntee said.
“I hope to have a draft of the bill before the summer and my intention is that it would be enacted later on this year.”
The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 was first introduced in July 2021, and allows for the sale and consumption of alcohol in relevant outdoor seating areas.
Ms McEntee said the measure was used to support the hospitality sector, which was most hit by Covid-19 related restrictions.
“So while most emergency measures in relation to Covid have finished up or have not been extended, I believe this is working well.”