Swansea Council has served up another boost to the hospitality industry.
The council will continue to provide licences for outdoor dining areas free of charge across the whole of Swansea until December 31.
The move – which follows the suspension of fees for pavement café licences over the past nine months – will help businesses as they battle back from lockdown. It will help bring added life and vibrancy to city centre streets.
It has been welcomed by Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) who are working with members across the city centre to help them secure and maintain licenses for offering services on paved areas, footways and carriageways next to their premises.
The move forms part of a wider multi-million pound recovery fund to help Swansea businesses and communities recover from the pandemic. Further details are due to be announced by the council in the coming days.
Council leader Rob Stewart said: “By removing these costs for the rest of 2021 we can save businesses many thousands of pounds and give them a better chance of thriving in our post-lockdown city.
“The move will help keep people in work and give residents more safe options for eating and drinking away from their homes.
“It will allow businesses more incentive to invest in customer safety, helping towards avoiding another lockdown situation.
“Other measures we’ve taken to help hospitality businesses include launching a fast-track license application process, removing traffic from Wind Street for much of the day and offering grants of up to £8,000 for outdoor furniture.
“Whilst keeping people safe, we want to help business as best we can at this challenging time.”
BID chief executive Russell Greenslade said: “We welcome this news. Businesses are responding positively and we continue to assist through our Covid recovery framework.
“We’re glad to be working with the council and others to help businesses serve the public as best they can in our new-look city centre.”
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 www.swansea.gov.uk/pavementcafe.
Thanks to the Welsh Government’s easing of restrictions, hospitality businesses have been able open outdoors since April 26. Indoor hospitality can reopen on May 17.
Social distancing still applies and customers are being asked to book ahead and understand that measures such as screens and track and trace are in place.