Digital Desk Staff
Those under the age of 18 may be allowed inside restaurants and bars in the company of someone who is fully vaccinated, under plans being brought to Cabinet.
As the Irish Examiner reports, the Government is currently working on ways to allow for the resumption of indoor dining later this month after the planned reopening on July 5 was 'paused' due to concern over the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.
Those under the age of 18, who are presently unable to obtain a vaccine, will be allowed into bars and restaurants provided they are accompanied by a vaccinated person. If the proposal is sanctioned by Cabinet it will allow for families to dine indoors during the latter half of the summer.
When the idea was put to Junior Minister Colm Brophy at lunchtime today on the Saturday with Katie Hannon show, he said that it was something he was aware of and that made sense.
Responding to reports that diners would be limited to stays of one-hour and 45 minutes, and that indoor tables would have to be kept one meter apart, he said those conditions were similar to the regulations that were in place last summer and which had worked well.
Digital cert app
Officials are understood to be examining a system that would enable restaurants and bars to download an app that could read the QR codes on the EU Digital Cert, which will be issued from Monday next. A similar system is currently in operation in the Netherlands.
It is expected that on Tuesday Cabinet will make a decision on the reopening of indoor hospitality, as it is coming under sustained pressure from industry representatives to put a plan in place.
However, there is no agreement yet on the date, with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar suggesting that reopening should happen on July 19th, while Taoiseach Micheál Martin is said to favour reopening a week later.
When pressed on a date for reopening, Mr Brophy told Katie Hannon that it could be as late as July 26th, but he hoped it would happen before then.
He also said that a vaccine pass or digital cert was not something the Government wanted as a first option.
Mr Brophy pointed out that the Government is trying to take into account the advice from Nphet, the industry situation in terms of employment and business owners, and people's desire for a plan that will allow for a safe reopening.