Pubs, hotels and restaurants are gearing up for an outdoor summer as the law allowing customers to drink on the streets outside of licensed premises is set to be extended.
Cabinet ministers will this morning sign off on the extension of legislation that will allow pubs and restaurants to serve alcohol in outdoor seated areas this summer.
The legislation, which was due to expire at the end of the month, was initially put in place during the pandemic to encourage revellers to sit outdoors to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The law was also changed in a bid to support hospitality businesses.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee will today bring forward a six-month extension of the legislation, which will now expire at the end of November. However, it is understood she wants to put in place a “longer-term solution” as part of licensing law reforms.
The law, which has been in place since last year, means pubs and restaurants do not have to get a special licence to sell alcohol outdoors.
It allows for alcohol to be sold and consumed in outdoor areas which are beside pubs and restaurants, in public spaces such as the pavement or private property, such as car parks.
However, the outdoor seating area must be right outside the licensed premises.
It comes as the waiver on the fees restaurants and pubs must pay to have tables outside their premises was also extended this year to help struggling hospitality businesses.
The amendment of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill will be passed before the Dáil breaks up for the summer.
Restaurant representatives previously called for the law to be put on a more permanent footing to bring Ireland in line with other European countries where al-fresco dining is more commonplace.