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NI customers can dine indoors in the Republic with proof of vaccination

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At last: Itziar Torrealday and her friend Jone Quincoces, from Bilbao, Spain, enjoying indoor dining at Bewleys on Grafton Street in Dublin. Credit: Steve Humphreys

At last: Itziar Torrealday and her friend Jone Quincoces, from Bilbao, Spain, enjoying indoor dining at Bewleys on Grafton Street in Dublin. Credit: Steve Humphreys

At last: Itziar Torrealday and her friend Jone Quincoces, from Bilbao, Spain, enjoying indoor dining at Bewleys on Grafton Street in Dublin. Credit: Steve Humphreys

Customers from Northern Ireland will now be able to dine indoors in pubs and restaurants in the Republic if they have proof they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19.

Yesterday, restrictions were lifted that had kept many pubs, especially those that do not serve food, closed since March 2020 in the Republic.

With proof of full vaccination or Covid recovery in the last 180 days, customers from the Republic will be eligible to enjoy indoor hospitality through use of the EU’s Digital Covid Cert (DCC) and official identification.

Customers in Northern Ireland will also be able to dine indoors using proof of full vaccination received at vaccination centres, or the new Covid vaccine certificate issued here.

Regulations issued by the Irish Government provide details of the proofs of immunity that may be acceptable by businesses, including an equivalent to the DCC or proof of vaccination which confirms the date of vaccination and is issued by the body responsible for doing so.

An Irish Government spokesperson said sufficient proof includes “a Covid-19 certificate which has been issued by a state other than a member State and recognised as equivalent to the EU Digital Covid Certificate”.

“People will also need photo ID to prove that the proof of immunity is theirs. The list of acceptable ID includes driving licence, passport, student ID (with photo) from a recognised educational establishment, a national identity card or any official document (which includes a photo) issued on behalf of this State or another State.”

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The president of the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) Mark McGowan told the Belfast Telegraph: “My understanding is that once a guest presents a valid vaccination cert from an official source along with proof of ID we will allow them to dine indoors. Cross border tourism is vital to surrounding counties and it is essential that there is a mutual understanding from the public in the north and the restaurants in the south.

“This is the beginning of our recovery and we need a great start and a big welcome to diners from Northern Ireland.”

The lead customer at a table or those enjoying hospitality alone will be asked to give his or her name for contact-tracing purposes.

There will be a limit of six adults per table, no bar service and customers can only remove their masks once seated.

RAI president Mark McGowan said the reopening was a “very significant day for hospitality across the country” but said the “biggest issue” for business owners was staffing levels.

However, Morad Gharib, general manager of Luigi’s Malone’s restaurant in Cork city centre, said they face reopening at just 50% of their normal capacity.

“When we reopened last December, we had 50% of our staff come back,” said Mr Gharib.

“Now, we are looking at starting up indoor dining again with just 40%.”

He said staff have either left the hospitality industry altogether, have gone home if they are from overseas, or have gotten different types of jobs closer to their homes, with only two staff leaving for jobs in other restaurants.


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