No time limits expected: Cabinet to consider new rules for indoor dining and drinking 

No time limits expected: Cabinet to consider new rules for indoor dining and drinking 

Time limits are not likely to be included in new guidelines for eating inside bars and restaurants in Ireland.

Time limits are not likely to 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.

Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, said: "We have made steady progress in devising guidelines that will allow our members open on Monday. There remains details to be finalised but the removal of time limits will be welcomed by the trade.

“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,” concludes Mr Cribben.

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