Time limits will not be included in new guidelines for eating inside bars and restaurants in Ireland.
Final guidelines for the reopening of indoor dining are set to be considered by the cabinet on Wednesday.
Representatives from the restaurant and bar sectors held meetings with Government officials on Tuesday ahead of the potential reopening of indoor service next week.
Discussions centred around trading hours, social distancing between tables and ventilation in bars and restaurants.
Following the meeting, Adrian Cummins, from the Restaurants Association of Ireland, called for a “robust inspection regime by the State to give confidence to the general public that restaurants, pubs and cafes are a safe place for indoor dining for customers vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid in the past nine months”.
It is understood that a digital Covid certificate checker is being developed by Government Information Services for businesses and customers in order to check valid certificates.
While it is expected that set time limits for dining will be removed from the guidelines on the basis of public health advice, an 11:30pm closing time will remain but will be reviewed.
It is believed that unvaccinated children will be allowed to eat indoors as long as they are accompanied by vaccinated adults and seated two metres away from other tables.
Earlier, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said restaurants and bars applying the new guidelines would be “critical” to the reopening of indoor dining.
The Minister for Finance said the guidelines give the best chance of avoiding a risk of closing the sector as a surge in cases is driven by the Delta variant.
Mr Donohoe said that any restaurant that meets the criteria agreed between the Government and the Restaurants Association of Ireland will be safe for indoor dining.
“What will be critical will be the implementation of the protocol and any restaurants that does meet these criteria and is safely implementing the protocol that is agreed by Government, I would myself be happy to eat indoors,” he added.
“I believe it would be safe to do so.
“There is always going to be risk, there is always going to be issues that customers will need to be assured of, but I do believe that the protocol that the Government is looking to agree with the restaurants does give us the best chance of managing the risk that could be there regarding indoor dining.
“If a restaurant is safely implementing those protocols, I myself would be happy to eat in it.”
Meanwhile, a further 1,110 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Ireland.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 89 Covid-positive patients in hospital with 21 in intensive care.
Dr Ronan Glynn, deputy chief medical officer, said: “Almost 7,700 cases of Covid-19 have been notified in the last seven days, an increase of 88% on the previous week. Incidence rates have increased in every county over the past seven days.
“The counties with the highest 14-day incidence rates are Donegal (725/100,000 population), Louth (474/100,000 population), Dublin (307/100,000 population), Limerick (258/100,000) and Galway (257/100,000).
“During this spell of fine weather, we know that the vast majority of people are continuing to protect themselves and others by following the public health advice. This remains really important as we seek to protect as many people as possible through vaccination over the coming weeks.
“As we have said since the vaccine programme began, Covid-19 vaccines are extraordinarily effective at reducing each person’s individual risk of hospitalisation or severe disease.
“Vaccines along with the core public health advice remain our pathway out of this pandemic – please avail of the opportunity to get protected through vaccination when it is offered to you.”