“Rogue operators” within the restaurant industry who “step out of line” from new indoor dining guidelines will be closed down immediately, the chief executive of the Restaurants Association has warned.
Adrian Cummins told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that swift action will be necessary so the industry can remain fully open to customers into the future.
“Businesses want to make sure they do the right thing across the board,” he said.
The sector is asking the Government for the protection of the State with inspections across the country, so that if any business steps out of line that they are closed down immediately, he added. “That's very important for our industry that all rogue operators are dealt with swiftly so that we can maintain our industry in an open manner into the future.”
The guidelines are very important to the industry, he said, but there were some outstanding issues that had to be finalised with officials this afternoon.
Mr Cummins said that he expected the number of customers at tables to stay the same, with the same social distance measures.
However, there remained “one bone of contention” which was the point where customers will have to present their verification of vaccination or recovery of Covid certification. This was an issue of concern especially around businesses in food courts, coffee shops within areas of food service where it would require extra employees.
“It should be at the point of sale in certain premises, we want to make sure that everybody is on board. It's vital that when we reopen next week, that is the end, there's no going back and we have to start with living with Covid into the future as an industry, as an economy and as a society.
“It's very important that everybody plays their part, listens to public advice, that unvaccinated people do not try to enter premises.”
When asked about unvaccinated staff, Mr Cummins said that all staff were working within workplace protocols. There was no issue with unvaccinated staff within hospitality or any workplace, he said.
“Indoor hospitality has been open since June 2nd for hotels across the country and there hasn't been an issue with regard to that.
“When Nphet [National Public Health Emergency Team] issued their letter to the Government over two weeks ago, which was at the eleventh hour of the eleventh hour, it was very clear within that how they requested the Government to put hospitality on pause, now we are reactivating (the sector), we're looking forward to that.”