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Guidelines for hospitality sector published two days before reopening

Only those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months will be allowed to dine inside premises.

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A waitress serves a table Hugo’s restaurant on Merrion Row in Dublin (Damien Eagers/PA)

A waitress serves a table Hugo’s restaurant on Merrion Row in Dublin (Damien Eagers/PA)

A waitress serves a table Hugo’s restaurant on Merrion Row in Dublin (Damien Eagers/PA)

Draft guidelines for the hospitality sector have been published ahead of the reopening of indoor dining on Monday.

The long-awaited guidelines were published late on Friday night, leaving publicans and restauranteurs with only two days to implement the comprehensive plans.

The indoor dining rules state that every restaurant and pub will have to take contacts details of every customer entering the premises for contact tracing.

Personal details will have to be produced alongside a copy of a Covid certificate to show they are either fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus in the last six months.

All patrons, expect those under the age of 18, will be required to provide their name and phone number. The data will be kept for 28 days and must be compliant with GDPR.

The information will be recorded for both walk-ins and pre-bookings.

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This has caused frustration in the hospitality industry as previous rules required only one person to provide contacts details on behalf of a group.

The EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) or the or HSE Covid-19 Vaccination Record can be used for proof of vaccination status when entering pubs, restaurants, cafes or food court.

Published by Failte Ireland, the series of guidelines also state that a maximum of six people over the age of 13 are allowed at each table.

The limit of six does not include children aged 12 or younger.

The total combined capacity at a table cannot exceed 15 overall.

Customers can avail of table service, however cannot approach or order from the bar or other counter.

Customers are required to wear face coverings at all times other than when seated at their table.

Music performance, dancing or other entertainment or mingling between tables is not allowed, while multiple tables cannot be booked.

Entrance points to bars and restaurants will be covered by staff who will use a scanner to check the vaccination status of each customer.

Only those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months will be allowed to eat and drink indoors.

Children under the age of 18 are allowed to accompany families or guardians.

There are no time limits on indoor dining, however premises must be clear of all customers by 11.30pm.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged that the new system will be “inconvenient” for businesses, but said it was the only way to reopen indoor dining.

I know that operating this new system will be inconvenient for business and could add to staff costs.Leo Varadkar

“The restrictions being applied to this re-opening are designed to be a temporary measure, and hugely important for the sector and their customers,” he said.

“I know that operating this new system will be inconvenient for business and could add to staff costs.

“It is, however, the only way we can re-open and stay open throughout this Delta wave.

“Hopefully, it will not be necessary in a few months’ time but it is good to have it in place in case it is.

“There will be teething problems and we will work with the industry to review and amend the regulations as needed and based on practical experience.”

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin said: “I am acutely aware of the devastation the necessary public health restrictions have had on tourism and hospitality businesses since March 2020 with many unable to open at all.

“Throughout this period the businesses and the people working in the sectors have made huge sacrifices which have benefited society at large.”

A further 1,345 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in Ireland.

As of Saturday morning, there were 105 Covid-positive patients in hospital, with 21 in intensive care.


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