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16/09/2021

EXPLAINER: The date and rules planned for the return of indoor dining in Ireland

EXPLAINER: The date and rules planned for the return of indoor dining in Ireland

EXPLAINER: The date and rules planned for the return of indoor dining in Ireland

New guidelines will be released later today signalling the planned return of indoor dining in Ireland. Indoor dining resumed in Northern Ireland on Monday with business owners here calling for greater clarity on the easing of restrictions south of the border.

When is indoor dining likely to return?

Outdoor dining will only return in Ireland on June 7 with health chiefs and government likely to analyse any impact on Covid-19 cases, particularly with the arrival of the highly transmissible Indian variant here, before allowing outdoor dining.

Soundings from the Cabinet table suggest outdoor dining in pubs and restaurants will return some time in July but there is no clarity on whether that will be early or later in the month. 

What will the rules be?

Leo Varadkar has already indicated that there will be no requirement to buy a €9 meal in a pub when they re-open, nor will there be a limit of 15 patrons. Capacity allowed with be based on venue size.

There will be some rules, however, with a maximum of six people from any number of households allowed at one table. One or two-metre spacings will be required between tables depending on other safety factors. 

Servers will still be wearing masks while patrons will too be required to wear a mask when away from their table and upon entering and leaving the premises. 

It's understood there will be an emphasis placed on ventilation in new Failte Ireland hospitality guidelines due for release today. It may be required that windows and doors are left open when people are availing of indoor dining. 

The issues

Restaurants owners have been venting about their return date with hotels allowed to accommodate indoor diners (residents only) from June 2. Restaurant owners believe this disparity in dates is unfair and damages their efforts to save their year with both outdoor and indoor diners, particularly this summer. 

The guidelines may also be adjusted depending on government decisions on restrictions with the Taoiseach set to announce more details of the broader re-opening plan and easing of restrictions later this week. 

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