Waterford’s COVID 19 Economic Recovery Plan
Waterford is preparing to bounce back from the impact of the COVID19 restrictions and is aiming to do so in a responsive and collaborative manner. Waterford’s COVID 19 Economic Recovery Plan launched today (Monday 8th June 2020) details a range of innovative and creative measures including:
- pedestrianising some locations in the city and town centres,
- incentivising food and beverage retailers to develop outdoor seating areas,
- implement a tourism promotion campaign showcasing the Great Outdoors in Waterford,
- mentoring, grants for professional advice and a business restart grant scheme,
- working with arts and cultural organisations to animate the public realm,
- install thermal imaging terminals to encourage safe shopping in City Centre,
- promote a Shop Waterford Support Local campaign.
Waterford businesses are known for resilience and have shown this spirit for survival since mid March when our City and town centres essentially closed down overnight. Many excellent models of business resilience emerged and initiatives such as #LoveWaterford and Waterford Online gained national recognition for their ingenuity and clarity of message. The clear and resounding message from Waterford business has been Shop Waterford and Support Local and a campaign with this message was launched on 19th May 2020. The campaign will continue throughout the recovery phase with a call to Waterford people to Support Local jobs by Buying Waterford whenever and wherever possible. The Waterford and Dungarvan Chamber shopping vouchers are being promoted as the Waterford Shop Local voucher scheme and local companies are being asked to support this initiative.
The Mayor of the City and County of Waterford said at the launch, “Waterford’s COVID Economic Recovery plan is about all of Waterford working together to be stronger. This plan is not just for Waterford City, or the larger towns of Dungarvan and Tramore it is also for all the rural towns and villages from Tallow and Ballyduff in the West to Portlaw and Passage in the East and all points in between. We want to rebuild and recover as One Waterford and this plan allows us the flexibility to do this”
Waterford’s capital investment in the wide pedestrianised areas throughout our town and city centres will stand us in good stead in the recovery and reimagining of Waterford post COVID. The plan to turn our city and town centres “inside out” is well advanced with a draft funding proposal before the elected members for decision later this month. Retailers wishing to avail of the Outdoor Street Furniture scheme are urged to apply for The Outdoor Furniture Section 254 licence from today. Waterford Council is waiving the S. 254 licence fee for 2020 so as to assist all eligible businesses apply for the financial assistance under the Outdoor Street Furniture of 75% of outlay up to a maximum of €2,000.
Waterford Council presentation teams have been working throughout the COVID restrictions to ensure our public spaces are best presented for reopening on 8th June. Intensive street cleaning has been undertaken, City in Bloom flower baskets are in place, Social Distancing signage will be an aid to shoppers and along with measures by local businesses will provide safe shopping environment for both customers and staff. Waterford City and County Council working in partnership with TQS Integration from Lismore is developing a pilot Thermal Imaging Reader to add an additional level of safety for shoppers in Waterford City Centre by providing public access to thermal imaging terminals in the City Centre. Standard Operating Procedures for Reopening have been developed and are available for retailers and businesses to use when planning for reopening.
Financial supports for businesses to provide a safe environment are available from the Waterford Council COVID19 Restart Grant alongside a wide range of supports from the Waterford LEO office. An online Business Support Hub launched in May 2020 has brought together all of the resources, support measures and best practice advice and is an excellent one stop shop for businesses. Waterford LEO is providing free online advisory HR, H&S, finance and digital clinics to any business which is in need of specific tailored advice.
The COVID 19 Economic Recovery Plan includes a range of measures which the Tourism and Cultural sectors will be involved with as part of the economic recovery of Waterford. The promotion of Waterford as a location of choice for the domestic market will focus on the numerous stunning Great Outdoor amenities and activities across Waterford City and County. Cultural activities will adapt to mainly safely organised outdoor events with a focus on animating and engaging our public realm.
The wide range of measures are detailed in the Waterford COVID 19 Economic Recovery Plan which has been agreed following an extensive consultation with representatives of Waterford City and Town centre management groups, business and industry sector, retail and hospitality sector, elected members of Waterford Council, key agencies and organisations including WIT, Enterprise Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Visit Waterford and internal consultations with Waterford Council’s Tourism, Rural Development, Marketing and Culture teams. The Plan is fluid and responsive and will need to adapt as Waterford recovers and re-emerges from COVID19.