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Council set to extend pandemic help for hospitality trade

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Swansea Council looks likely to serve up another boost to the city’s cafes, pubs and restaurants as the pandemic continues.

Its ruling cabinet is being asked to continue to provide licences for outdoor dining areas free of charge until the end of March next year.

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The move – which follows the suspension of fees for Pavement Café Licences since summer 2020 – would help businesses as they operate within pandemic restrictions. It will help continue to bring life and vibrancy to the city’s streets and other areas.

The move – saving business around £50,000 a year – would be part of the council’s wider multi-million pound recovery fund to help businesses and communities recover from the pandemic.

Council joint deputy leader and cabinet member David Hopkins said: “There’s a market for outdoor hospitality.

“Whilst keeping people safe, we want to help business as best we can at this challenging time.

“We’ve learnt important lessons from the changes we’ve made to date, including the fact that we must strike a careful balance to ensure stakeholders are engaged. Safe and accessible routes should remain for pedestrians.

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“By removing some costs for the whole of 2022 and into next year we can save businesses many thousands of pounds.

“The move will help keep people in work and give residents more options for eating and drinking safely away from their homes in line with Welsh Government guidelines and regulations.”

Measures the council took last year to help hospitality businesses included launching a fast-track license application process and removing traffic from Wind Street for much of the day. Around £1.2m was committed by the council in grants for outdoor furniture.

The council’s cabinet is due to discuss outdoor hospitality on January 20. Members will be asked to approve a review of the businesses that have extended – with council approval – onto roads and to extend these agreements as appropriate.

The council remains happy to discuss ideas from businesses for the use of other outdoor areas for eating and drinking.

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All businesses wishing to create an outdoor seating area on the highway – and those who wish to continue use their existing seating areas – must apply for a licence via the council’s website.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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