No time limits on indoor dining under reopening plans
There will not be any time limits for those allowed to eat and drink inside pubs and restaurants under guidelines agreed with the hospitality sector this evening.
Closing time will be set at 11.30pm and an app will be developed by Government to allow business owners to check customers’ Digital Covid Certificates at the door of a pub or restaurant.
Up to six people will be allowed sit at tables that must be kept one metre apart.
There is some confusion around the suggestion that tables with children will have to be two metres apart from other tables.
Several sources this evening are suggesting no decision was made on that.
The guidelines will place an emphasis on the need for C02 monitors and air extractors.
The view in Government is that the reopening of indoor hospitality for those who are vaccinated or recovered from Covid is on course to happen next Monday 26 July.
However, the legislation to pave the way for this to happen must still be signed by the President.
The issues around indoor dining were up for discussion at a meeting this evening between representatives from the restaurant and bar sector and Government officials.
If the Health Bill is signed by the President, the Government is likely to emphasise the need for both customers and the hospitality sector to act responsibly as Covid-19 case numbers rise.
The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) Chief Executive Padraig Cribben said that guidelines that will allow pubs to reopen on Monday are almost complete.
In a statement released this evening: Mr Cribben said: “Confirmation of next Monday’s reopening will be made at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting but guidelines cannot be finalised until the legislation underpinning the reopening is signed by the President over the coming days.
“While our members will be relieved to reopen next Monday there remains a significant challenge in policing the vaccine pass. It will require the full support of the public to ensure this temporary solution runs smoothly,” said Mr Cribben.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Drivetime earlier today, Mr Cribben said while there will be an app, there will also be potential for paper-based systems.
He said there were still a number of questions about what type of ID will be required with those QR codes.
He said it makes sense and they welcome the abolition of the time limits as it stops people moving around to different outlets.
Mr Cribben said while table service will still be in place, the VFI is seeking clarification around the use of the bar counter.
He said they believe there is scope to have the use of the bar counter for service, while ensuring social distancing and safeguards for bar staff.
The CEO Restaurant Association of Ireland has said he is confident that indoor hospitality will resume next Monday.
Adrian Cummins is also hopeful that businesses will be provided with the app that will allow them to verify the vaccination status or recovery from Covid status for those entering a premises.
Speaking on the same programme, Mr Cummins said they expect the app to be ready before next week’s reopening.
He said unvaccinated children will be allowed to enter premises, once they are accompanied by vaccinated adults and they will be subject to social distancing.
“All going well, we would expect that we would have indoor dining, a resumption of it, from next Monday onwards,” Mr Cummins said.
Additional reporting Sandra Hurley