Explainer: What to expect when dining indoors under the new guidelines 

Explainer: What to expect when dining indoors under the new guidelines 

New guidelines have been published ahead of the return of indoor hospitality on Monday.  Pics: Helena Lopes/Pexels

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 and include a number of new rules for indoor hospitality.

Here is a look at what the new guidelines will mean and what can be expected with the return of indoor dining.

Who will be allowed to dine indoors under the new rules?

From Monday, indoor hospitality will reopen for people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, as well as children under 18 in their care.

What is needed to prove that you can dine inside?

The EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) will be the primary evidence used when going into a pub, restaurant, café or food court to access indoor hospitality. People across the country are currently receiving their EU Digital COVID Certificate via email and by post.

However, other proofs of immunity will be set out in regulations and will include the HSE Covid-19 Vaccination Record.

Under 18s who are accompanied by a parent or guardian in an indoor setting, currently do not require Proof of Immunity.

All patrons, except those under the age of 18, will also 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.

Previously, just one person was required to provide contact details. 

Children under 18 may also be asked for a photo ID to prove that they are under 18 and are allowed to enter the premises with a permitted person.

How will the requirements be monitored?

Measures will need to be in place to ensure a person cannot access premises without being checked.

According to Fáilte Ireland guidance, there must be "a defined, managed and supervised entrance point with an appropriate queue management system" at the entrance to premises or at the point of entry to seating areas, that is controlled by personnel.

Businesses will have access to a Digital COVID Certificate checker which can be used to check the validity of a Digital COVID Certificate.

This weekend, it can be used by businesses for testing ahead of the opening of indoor hospitality on Monday.

Businesses may refuse access where people cannot offer proof of vaccination or recovery or cannot demonstrate that their certificate relates to them.

If businesses do not operate on this basis, they may be liable for fines or closure.

What happens if a customer has to leave?

If a customer leaves for any reason, for example, to access a smoking area, they will have to notify a staff member.

Ideally, they will then be provided with a pass which must be returned or checked on re-entry.

How many people can dine at a table?

Published by Failte Ireland, the 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.

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

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

All staff will continue to wear appropriate PPE including face masks.

Are there any time limits on indoor dining?

There will be no time limits on indoor dining, however, the guidelines state that all premises must be clear of all customers by 11.30 pm.

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