Restaurants will be allowed to operate as takeaways for the duration of the COVID 19 crisis without planning permission, the Government has confirmed.

Liz Canavan, a senior official in the Department of An Taoiseach, said that the Government is waiving the change of purpose permission required for sit-down restaurants to operate as takeaways. She was speaking as part of the Government’s daily press briefing.

The differing planning permissions are largely down to issues relating to customer parking and traffic management.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that cafés and restaurants can remain open however they are restricted to only offering a takeaway service.

Many fast food operators have closed this week, including McDonald’s and Supermacs. Online takeaway ordering service Just Eat has been flooded with restaurants looking to start a takeaway service and the company has pledged €1m worth of supports for struggling businesses.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has welcomed Government measures to prop up the economy and keep people in jobs, however has reiterated that small businesses must not be penalised due to cashflow difficulties. The association has called for a reduction in the food VAT rate to 0% as well as a suspension of local authority rates.

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