Last-minute regulation changes as indoor hospitality reopens 

Last-minute regulation changes as indoor hospitality reopens 

More than 3,000 pubs will reopen on Monday.  Michael O'Donovan, of The Castle Inn, South Main Street & Chairperson Cork City & Cork County Branch Vintners Federation of Ireland, preparing to reopen. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Indoor dining in pubs and restaurants will reopen across Ireland on Monday, marking a significant step for the hospitality sector.

The guidelines for reopening were signed off by Government late on Sunday night.

Indoor dining is open for the fully vaccinated and those who have had Covid-19 in the last six months.

Guidelines 

A maximum of six people over the age of 13 are allowed at each table. The limit does not include children aged 12 or younger.

The total combined capacity at a table cannot exceed 15.

Bars and restaurants have been preparing to reopen over the weekend after draft guidelines were published late on Friday night.

For many pubs it will be the first time they have opened since March 2020.

Contact tracing change 

Last-minute changes to the regulations require pubs and restaurants to take the contact details for the lead person at a table only.

The proposed guidelines stated that details of every customer were needed for contact tracing.

However, the updated guidelines removed this requirement.

Patrons will be required to produce a copy of a Covid certificate to show they are either fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus in the last six months.

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

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

Big day for pubs 

More than 3,000 pubs will reopen on Monday, with 25,000 staff signing off the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and heading back to work.

Padraig Cribben, Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) chief executive, said: “It’s a big day for the trade, especially when you consider some of our members were closed for over 16 months.

“Unfortunately, the new guidelines Government handed down to us will make it very difficult for publicans and staff to manage their indoor businesses.

“Our message to customers is simple: Please work with us as we get used to these new guidelines.

“The guidelines are onerous and cumbersome for staff to implement.

“Pubs will have to record the personal details of every person entering the venue while keeping a separate, anonymous, record that confirms vaccine passes have been checked.

“It’s not a practical system for business owners to operate so we’re asking people to be patient, co-operate and please remember that publicans and their staff are only doing their job.

“The Government made it clear this was the only solution to get pubs open so it’s this or remain closed until October at the earliest.

“While we’re far from happy about how our members are reopening it’s important to remember this is only a temporary measure and our expectation is that the requirement to check vaccine certs will be removed as soon as possible.” 

VFI president Paul Moynihan, who runs his family pub in Donard, Co Wicklow, said: “The reopening of indoor hospitality marks the end of an extremely challenging 16-month period that began on 15 March 2020 when all pubs were instructed to close in the face of the advancing pandemic.

“It’s only fair that pubs with no outdoor space are allowed to reopen. While outdoor trading has been a success for some publicans, reopening indoors gives businesses a chance to make ends meet.

“Safety and responsibility will be the watchwords in the weeks ahead as publicans and customers get to grips with the new reality.

“Publicans having to request vaccine certs from people they’ve known for years is not where any of us expected to be but we need to get open.

“The key message I’ve received from publicans is that once we’re open we stay open.

“There can be no return to more lockdowns, as the consequences of such a move for the trade don’t bear thinking about.”

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