SWANSEA Council has begun to offer grants to help restaurants, bars and cafés re-open safely and serve food outside.
The funding can be used to buy outdoor furniture, allowing hospitality traders to roll out services as government restrictions are gradually eased in the wake of the pandemic.
Grants of up to £8,000 are available, with businesses required to cover 20% of the total spend.
The funding is available through the Welsh Government Transforming Towns initiative.
Existing Welsh Government rules state that customers visiting a hospitality business can only be served food and drink outdoors at tables. Social distancing guidelines apply. The rules are under review and could change.
Businesses considered for grants will be located within the city centre or in a district trading centre such as those in Clydach, Gorseinon, Gowerton, Killay, Morriston, Mumbles, Pontarddulais, Sketty and Uplands. Those in adjacent areas may also qualify.
Grants are available for independent and small to medium-sized enterprises that hold a pavement café licence. Those that don’t yet have a licence can apply to the council which has introduced a fast-track application process.
Swansea BID – the Business Improvement District – is offering businesses advice on furniture such as tables, chairs, large planters, awnings, large umbrellas, café-style barriers and heaters.
Other items being considered to include canopies, igloo bubbles, barriers, litter bins, servery facilities and seating areas for public spaces.
Examples of good practice include wooden folding chairs and tables, matched stackable furniture in metal and wicker, commercial-standard parasols with quartz infrared halogen heaters, and decking and seating.
For advice on furniture visit this Swansea BID web page – www.swanseabid.co.uk/coronavirus-business-updates-latest-news/
Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We want to assist restaurants, bars and cafés to re-open safely.
“These grants for outdoor furniture will help them do that.”
David Hopkins, cabinet member for delivery and operations – and joint deputy leader, said: “We’ve put in place a swift and fair process that will help our local economy and lifestyles move on from lockdown.
“Throughout all this change, I urge everybody to stay safe, act responsibly, plan ahead, book in advance and take full account of government guidelines – the deadly coronavirus is still with us.”
Chief executive of Swansea BID (Business Improvement District), Russell Greenslade, said: “It is great to see this project being delivered as we have been working hard behind the scenes with the council as part of our recovery framework to deliver the programme.
“The use of tables and chairs outside a cafe, pub and restaurant premises can bring added life and vitality into the area’s streets. They can enrich the pedestrian and visitor experience, presenting an open, inviting atmosphere – and they can enhance business operations.
“We would encourage businesses to consider applying for this grant – it could be an important step to getting back on track. We’re offering advice on outdoor furniture and this is among a number of important services we are offering at this challenging time.
“Swansea BID is working hard to support city centre hospitality businesses to re-open. We have launched the evepass app, a handy free tool to help with the Test Trace Protect process, and we have been supplying PPE packs and hand sanitiser to businesses to help them hit the ground running upon reopening.”