“HOSPITALITY was the beneficiary of a Government faux pas and it shouldn’t have been that way”, said Mike Ryan, the Cork chair of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, after Fáilte Ireland guidelines for organised outdoor events were updated following advice that regulations do allow for up to 200 people.
The guidelines have also been updated to allow for live music and other performances outdoors in hospitality settings, subject to public health guidance.
Mr Ryan, owner of the Cornstore and Coqbull restaurants, said the latest guidelines are ‘positive’.
“It is positive for venues that have bigger areas outside,” said Mr Ryan.
“It is a shame it took them a three-card shuffle to make it happen. We would never be having this unless they were trying to save the Government from falling.
“It is a good thing it has happened. It is just unfortunate the way it has come about.”
The restaurateur said the way the update came about was ‘accidental’ following a dramatic week in Irish politics.
“It is good, but it was accidental,” he said.
The changes come in the wake of a controversial event hosted by former minister Katherine Zappone at Dublin’s Merrion Hotel. Yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar apologised for attending the event.
“I do want to say very clearly that the event was not in breach of the Government regulations in place at the time,” Mr Varadkar told RTÉ.
Cork TD Thomas Gould said: “A lot of people are speculating that the guidelines wouldn’t have changed only for the party in Merrion Hotel.
“There is a perception that they have moved the goalposts accordingly to suit themselves.
“There are a lot of double standards at play.”
Communions and confirmations are also set to resume in September, subject to public health advice.
Speaking to The Echo, Fr Tom Hayes, spokesman for the Diocese of Cork and Ross and parish priest of Enniskeane, said the lack of a date for resumption of the ceremonies means it is “still up in the air”.
“It is very general, there isn’t a date given so it is still up in the air,” said Fr Hayes. “We have learned from Covid that an awful lot can happen in two weeks.
“It is positive that they are aware of the need to allow those sacraments to be celebrated.
“If the Government permits them to be celebrated from September, it will bring relief and joy in the families, schools, and parishes.”