Covid-19: Can a Hotel Restaurant operate as Takeaway

Emergency legislation:

An Emergency Exempted Development Act has been passed lifting planning restrictions to allow the hospitality industry adapt to the closure of their sit-in restaurant premises by operating a takeaway businesses.

For the period of this emergency:

“development consisting of a change of use from use for the sale of food for consumption on the premises to use for the sale of food for consumption off the premises” is to be considered as exempt development.

Can your hotel restaurant operate a takeaway?

The emergency legislation waives the requirement for restaurants to apply to their Local Authority for planning permission to operate as a takeaway or delivery service only, with no restaurant dining facilities, for a specified period.

Once the emergency period has ceased, the use of the premises for takeaway will no longer be exempted development.

Does your planning permission allow for ancillary takeaway facilities in normal circumstances?

For those planning permissions that are silent on the subject of takeaway, the argument is often made that takeaway services should be deemed an ancillary use to any restaurant, as long as the primary business is not lost.

However, if one looks at the Dublin City Development Plan the two activities are clearly defined.

A restaurant is defined as ‘a building where the primary function is for the sale of food, meals/refreshment for consumption on the premises’ whereas a takeaway is ‘a premises used for the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises’. The word primary in the restaurant definition should allow ancillary use.

In recent planning permissions, we have seen Dublin City Council take a strong view in relation to the attachment of conditions restricting takeaway facilities.

Should Planning Authorities review the concept of ‘Takeaway’?

The Dublin City Development Plan and other development plans countrywide have stated that the overconcentration of takeaways is something which must be strictly restricted in order to (1) promote a heathier and more active lifestyle and (2) protect the surrounding area from noise pollution and other disturbances that come from your typical late night takeaway.

The development plan does not take into account new developments and advancements in the hospitality industry. The world of takeaways has expanded from the idea of people congregating and creating a possible hub for antisocial behaviour. The takeaway market now includes a wide range of restaurants and other outlets, who deliver their dining menu directly to the customers home via delivery services and click and collect facilities.

The hospitality industry may not be able to reopen and operate as they previously did, and the changing nature of food service will have to be addressed practically.

If you have any queries in relation to operation of your restaurant during this difficult time, please contact: –

  • Lorraine Compton on 086 – 253 4651 or lorraine.compton@comptonsolicitors.ie


  • Fiona Tonge on 089 – 471 4128 or             fiona.tonge@comptonsolicitors.ie


Release prepared with the assistance of Simon Clear, Planning Consultant.

We Can Help You To Better Understand What Business You Can Carry Out During The Covid 19 Emergency Period:

Liquor Licensing is a complex and multi faceted process. 

We pride ourselves on providing a simple, non technical road map with a speedy timeline for completion of the project.  Along the way, we will liaise directly with architects and accountants to leave you free to concentrate on your business.


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