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Key Step in Bringing Vibrancy Back to City

Outdoor seating by IsiMAR

The goal of “Enabling the City to Return to Work” is to allow the city to function under the new arrangements arising from the Covid-19 crisis, both in terms of providing space for safe movement of people and business activities, and in accommodating the changed transport patterns.

The overall aim of these proposals is to ensure that people and the vibrancy they bring, can return to the city.

The plans will allow people to return to retail and leisure activities and enable the city to return to work. In addition, it will allow people to visit family and friends and, in time, allow schools and colleges to reopen all in line with government guidelines and timescales.

The objectives of the plan are:

  • To ensure safe access to, and movement within, Dublin City for all users;

  • To provide sufficient movement capacity to cater for the changed travel patterns; and

  • To support the economic recovery of the city and the region.

As the restrictions are eased with workplaces, schools and shops re-opening, the numbers of people travelling and moving around the city will start to increase again.  More space is going to need to be allocated to social distancing and to supporting shops and businesses operating in this new environment.

Could we see Dublin adopt measures taken in other cities like Vilnus, Lithuania's capital. Vilnius, is being turned into a giant open-air café with authorities allowing bars and restaurants to set up tables outside free of charge in order to respect social distancing rules as the country gradually eases lockdown restrictions.

But cafés and restaurants still have to adhere to strict physical distancing rules in order to reopen, with seating only allowed outdoors and clients placed at different tables to be at least two metres apart.

Outdoor seating in Vilnius. Credit: Go Vilnius

According to Mayor Šimašius, this would have excluded many businesses in the Unesco-listed Old Town, where narrow cobbled streets leave little space for outdoor seating. The city has therefore decided to open up its public spaces for cafés and restaurants to use.

"Plazas, squares, and streets – nearby cafés will be able to set up outdoor tables free of charge this season and thus conduct their activities during quarantine. Just open up, work, retain jobs and keep Vilnius alive," Šimašius said last month.

The Restaurants' Association of Ireland (RAI) has called for a similar waiver of licenses for outdoor tables and chairs for one year, "to enable businesses to reopen and adapt to social distancing".

"I would be all for pedestrianising certain parts of the city now where you have very low throughput of cars," says its CEO, Adrian Cummins.

"Local authorities need to work with us in a proactive way to open up streets across the cities, towns and villages as quickly as possible, so people can use outdoor space during the summer."

More information on trade pricing for IsiMAR furniture from Zinc Interior Design

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