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18/09/2021

Editorial: New indoor dining rules give food for thought

KILKENNY

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At long last, this week, local pubs and eateries welcome back customers into their premises for the resumption of indoor dining.

The timing is fortuitous. Such has been the weather in recent weeks, which has felt subtropical at times and giving us all plenty of excuses to spend more time outdoors. Socialising, eating and drinking outside when it’s warm and dry is, unsurprisingly, not overly discommoding.

But now, the weather has broken. Temperatures have dropped, a low pressure front has moved in, and at long last the rain has returned!

If we are glad to be able to return to indoor dining, it’s nothing compared to the relief that our local establishments must be feeling.

It’s not all straightforward; there are kinks to be worked out and late changes to how it will operate. Not everyone has a Covid cert, and not everyone is fully comfortable with the concept.

However, with almost 70% now fully vaccinated, we are in a strong position to get things back on track. Many places are now doing ‘walk ins only’ and have opted against taking reservations, due to people making them and then not showing up.

Doing this is extremely unhelpful for these businesses trying to get back on their feet, so if you do make a booking, make sure to honour it. Likewise, don’t forget to bring your ID and proof of immunity, and whatever else you need to make the process easier.

Some restaurants have made it clear they are concerned about staffing issues, and whether or not they will be able to get sufficient staff to fully reopen safely. It may present another challenge, and will have to be borne in mind.

A recent survey of SMEs by Champion Green reveals more than half believe that having bars, restaurants and cafés fully open is important for the restoration of the local economy. They feel that the opening up of indoor dining this week will encourage consumers to stay closer to home for their shopping needs.

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