The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, signed a Ministerial Order on 31 March 2020 effective from that date to change planning regulations that apply to restaurants to allow them to operate as takeaways during the Covid-19 emergency period.
Ordinarily, to operate as a takeaway, whether this is in addition to or instead of a restaurant, would require planning permission for a change of use. However, during the emergency period in response to Covid-19, the change of use of a restaurant to operate as a takeaway will constitute exempted development and as such will not require planning permission for the change of use.
The Ministerial Order, the Planning and Development Act 2000 (Exempted Development) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 92/2020), provides that during the relevant period where the use of a premises is the sale of food for consumption on the premises the use is converted to use for the sale of food for consumption off the premises. The relevant period is defined by reference to the emergency legislation passed by the Oireachtas on 20 March 2020, Part 3 of the Health (Preservation and Protection and Other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020. This provides the relevant period continues in operation until 9 November 2020 unless a resolution approving of the continuation of Part 3 has been passed by both Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann.
The Ministerial Order specifies that at the end of the emergency period, the usual position will be restored and a restaurant without formal planning permission for use as a takeaway, once the relevant period has ended, will not constitute exempted development and will require require planning permission for change of use to operate as a takeaway.
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