Talks on reopening indoor dining for fully vaccinated
Representatives from the restaurant and bar sector will this evening meet with Government officials as work continues on guidelines ahead of the anticipated reopening of indoor hospitality next week.
The question of whether or not there will be time limits on the indoor service in bars and restaurants will be examined.
Last night, there were indications that those limits would be introduced but further meetings between the industry and Government officials are expected later in the week to confirm the final details.
The issue of social distancing requirements along with air ventilation measures are also up for discussion.
The expectation within Government currently is that indoor hospitality will reopen next week for vaccinated people and those who have recovered from Covid-19.
This is contingent on President Michael D Higgins signing the necessary legislation, which was passed by the Dáil and Seanad last week.
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 responsibility as Covid-19 case numbers rise.
Restaurants Association of Ireland Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said there are some outstanding issues that need to be finalised.
He said the RAI has “bone of contention” over the point at which customers will have to present their certificate of vaccination or recovery, which he said should be at the point of sale in certain premises.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Cummins said businesses wanted to do the right thing and called on the Government to ensure that any premises that step out of line are closed immediately.
He said indoor hospitality has been in operation in hotels since 2 June and there have been no issues.
Meanwhile, chair of the NPHET Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan said there had been a very steep rise in the number of infections, comparable to or steeper than the early part of previous waves.
He said this would not translate into severe disease and mortality in the same way as before, but he noted that numbers in hospital were rising.
The Department of Health yesterday confirmed 1,071 new cases of the virus, with 101 patients in hospital, 20 of whom are in ICU.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan urged people who are not yet fully vaccinated to socialise outdoors.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can have confidence in your vaccine and enjoy socialising and meeting with other vaccinated people indoors, so long as you continue to follow the basic public health precautions.
“If you are waiting to be fully vaccinated, then it is best to continue to socialise outdoors.
“Events like barbecues, meeting in a park or going to the beach can be enjoyed safely once we do our best to minimise the risks of transmission – only meet in small groups, wash or sanitise your hands regularly, don’t share utensils and wear a face mask where appropriate. If you are meeting indoors, ensure that the room is well ventilated.”