Michelle Devane, PA
A delay to the resumption of indoor dining at pubs and restaurants is “not inevitable”, the Tánaiste has said.
Leo Varadkar said a decision will not be made by Government until Tuesday on whether Covid-19 restrictions will be eased further on July 5th as planned.
The Fine Gael leader also said the decision will be made even if it does not receive updated advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (Niac) regarding the use of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J - also known as Janssen), vaccines in younger people.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has brought forward the decision on whether to delay the next stage of reopening due to rising concerns over the Delta variant.
However, Ministers have faced intensifying calls from bar and restaurant owners to urgently provide clarity regarding the reopening as they need to tell staff whether they will be working on July 5th.
Mr Varadkar said the hospitality industry had made a “very reasonable” request to bring the decision forward.
We will make a decision tomorrow.
“They have to engage employees, people have to come off PUP, they have to order supplies. So they’ve asked us that we bring the decision forward so we’re going to do that,” he said.
“We will make a decision tomorrow.”
He said he had not yet seen the advice or modelling data from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) or the advice from Niac in relation to vaccinations.
“We’ll have to see all the advice, receive the presentations today and tomorrow and make a decision,” he added.
“The one thing though that I can say to everyone, citizens, suppliers, employees, what we want to avoid is having to go backwards.”
Asked whether a delay is inevitable or not that indoor dining at pubs and restaurants will be delayed Mr Varadkar said: “Not inevitable is correct.”
Earlier, the Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said no matter what decision is reached, people will be able to do more in July than they can in June.