Covid-19: Dublin City Council's Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permits
On 9 June 2020 Dublin City Council (‘DCC’) announced that it was inviting applications for “expanded street furniture provision” from businesses in order to assist them in “getting back up and running” in light of the COVID-19 restrictions. Such provisions for street furniture will be dealt with by way of a Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permit, should the application be granted.
We will set out the relevant considerations for those interested in applying for a Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permit as required by DCC.
1 – What is a Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permit?
A Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permit (‘Temporary Permit’) gives permission for its holder to place tables and chairs outside their premises where food is sold for consumption on the premises.
In essence, the Temporary Permit is very similar to a Street Furniture Licence (further information available here) in that it grants permission to place tables and chairs outside a premises that serves food for consumption on the premises. However, the Temporary Permit scheme has been introduced by DCC specifically to assist business reopening in the midst of the restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and so the process of applying for and being granted a Temporary Permit is quicker and more streamlined than with Street Furniture Licences.
There are, however, some differences between a Temporary Permit and a Street Furniture Licence that are important to note :-
- To apply for a Temporary Permit, Public Liability Insurance must be obtained that provides cover to a minimum value of €2.6 million. For Street Furniture Licences, the minimum cover of the policy is €6.5 million.
- The Temporary Permit will only granted for a 6 month period.
- Street furniture may only be placed on the street within the times specified on the Temporary Permit. Should street furniture be placed on the street outside of the permitted times the Temporary Permit will be immediately rescinded and the furniture removed at the expense of the holder of the permit.
It is also important to note that DCC have indicated that, depending on street capacity, it would be possible for the holder of an existing Street Furniture Licence to apply for a Temporary Permit in order to expand their current outdoor seating area, provided the requisite conditions have been met.
2 – How to Apply for the Temporary Permit?
To apply for the Temporary Permit, you will first need to make a request via the Covid Mobility Measure Request Form online, which will be assessed by the Covid Mobility Unit and the Public Spaces Working Group. If it is possible to accommodate the request the applicant is then sent an application form which must be completed and returned to DCC along with evidence of a sufficient Public Liability Insurance policy. Such policies must indemnify DCC against 3rd party claims and provide a minimum cover of €2.6 million.
It is intended that once DCC receives the completed application form, permits will be issued within a period of 3-5 working days. Permits will be issued free of charge and will be valid for a period of 6 months.
DCC have also confirmed that the holders of existing Street Furniture Licences will have their licences extended for a period of 6 months beyond their expiry dates free of charge.
The Temporary Permit is subject to various general conditions that are important to note. These include :-
- The area covered by the permit must be enclosed by screens
- The design must be approved by Dublin City Council
- Side awnings or front awnings may not be used to cover the permitted area
- A change in use of the area covered by the Temporary Permit requires a new application
3 – What Permissions do I Need?
Where the land on which the outdoor seating area is to be located is privately owned, the issue of obtaining a Temporary Permit does not arise. It is therefore important to first check the title of the property in question, to establish the property’s boundaries. It is not uncommon that the area directly outside a premises constitutes part of the title of the property. If you are erecting an outdoor seating area or structure it may require planning permission and in the case of a protected structure, there may be conservation issues.
If, however, the temporary seating area is to be located on public land, such as a footpath, then it will be necessary to obtain the Temporary Permit (or Street Furniture Licence). Again, any building of an outdoor seating area or structure may require planning permission.
If the proposed outdoor seating area is to be used for smoking, there are certain requirements it must meet. A smoking room/area only complies with the law if it the structure is either: –
- An area with no roof, whether fixed or mobile
- An outdoor area may have a fixed or moveable roof, so long as not more than 50% of the boundary is covered i.e. by a wall, windows, gate. In other words, if there is a roof, whether it be fixed or movable, 50% of the boundary must remain as open space.
4 – Can Alcohol be Served in the Area Covered by the Temporary Covid Street Furniture Permit?
Similar to the Street Furniture Licence granted by DCC, alcohol may be consumed in the outdoor area covered by the Temporary Permit, but the actual sale of the alcohol, that is, the paying for the alcohol, must take place within the licensed area.
Local Authorities can differ on the procedures that are in place. You should make enquiries with your Local Authority, to ascertain if a similar temporary procedure is in place, how to apply and if alcohol is permitted to be served.
If you are permitted to provide off sales, it should be noted that any sale of alcohol, in a closed container, for consumption off the premises, should not be consumed within 100 metres of the licensed area.
This document is intended to provide a general overview and guidance on a particular topic. It is provided wholly without any liability or responsibility on the part of Compton Solicitors and does not replace the necessity to obtain specific legal advice.
© Compton Solicitors 2020