Jonathan McCambridge, PA
A roadmap for the further relaxation of Covid restrictions for the hospitality sector is to be drawn up in the coming weeks, an industry representative has said.
Representatives from the hospitality industry met with Government officials on Wednesday where they pushed for an end to the 11.30pm Covid-19 closing time rule from September onwards.
Indoor dining is currently restricted to people who can prove they are vaccinated or have recovered from the virus.
Speaking after the meeting, Adrian Cummins from the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), said it had been a “robust and engaging conversation”.
He told Virgin Media News: “We put forward all of our requests and asks. We will meet with officials again in about two weeks time.
“There will be a roadmap to relaxation of restrictions developed at the end of August, beginning of September and they will be reviewed under public health advice, so we are moving in the right direction.
“Obviously a lot of work will have to happen over the next number of weeks ahead.”
Mr Cummins also reacted to a statement from the Attorney General that Government regulations now allow for outdoor events of up to 200 people
He said: “That is good news for the hospitality industry, it is not news we would have heard before this.
“We welcome that, it gives more opportunity for businesses to have more people outdoors for social events and we want to make sure that we do everything right within public health advice so we welcome this announcement from the Attorney General.”
Mr Cummins later tweeted: “Hospitality businesses have missed out on a substantial amount of revenue due to lack of clarification regarding maximum 200 attendees at Outdoor Hospitality events Normal trading hours must be reinstated as a matter of urgency to balance the loss of income for businesses.”
Meanwhile, Minister of State Colm Brophy has said the process of allowing Fáilte Ireland to clarify the guidelines for the hospitality sector should be allowed to proceed.
There were regulations “which are quite clear” and then there were the guidelines from Fáilte Ireland, he told RTÉ radio’s News at One.
The situation was changing all the time, but the guidelines needed to be “tightly” refined after they came under scrutiny, he said.
“My understanding is the guidelines were put out following consultation with the industry groups and the government,” he added.
When asked if the Attorney General had been consulted when the guidelines were drawn up, he said he could not answer the question.
Speaking about criticism from the Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell on Wednesday in which he labelled restrictions on religious services, such as communions and confirmations, as "discriminatory", Mr Brophy said he could understand why the Archbishop was frustrated with the guidelines.
“It's not the sacrament of holy communion, it’s the associated activity around them” that was of concern, he said.
“For the greater good we are asking people not to engage in multigenerational events. The regulations and the guidelines are in place for the greater good.”
The Government is due to consider any fresh easing of Covid-19 restrictions at the end of August.