A party member must give their contact details under the new regulations

Regulations governing the reopening of indoor dining were signed shortly before midnight Sunday, with small changes from the draft guidelines released on Friday.

The new regulations say that only one party member will need to provide contact details for contact tracing, rather than all members of a group.

Earlier Sunday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly called on people to “use the same common sense they have throughout this pandemic” as restaurants inside reopen on Monday.

He said “Public health measures are more important than ever as we fight the Delta variant. If people are symptomatic, they should self-isolate and get tested. “

Mr. Donnelly also insisted that “those who are not fully vaccinated should avoid high risk activities. And I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, to help us get back to a more normal life.

He said: “I wish the industry the best of luck as it reopens after such a difficult time.”

His comments came as pubs and restaurants made final preparations for the reopening of indoor meals on Monday for those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the Covid-19 virus, as well as children and some members of the staff.

Under the draft guidelines, which was released on Friday, customers are only allowed to remove their masks when seated.

Guests are required to have their Covid digital certificate or Health Service Executive (HSE) vaccination card proving that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or that they have recovered from the virus.

Diners can include a maximum of six adults with up to nine unvaccinated children. There will be no bar service and all premises will have to close before 11:30 p.m., although this may be reviewed later in the summer, depending on how the program operates.

The hospitality industry has expressed concern about the lack of staff to operate the system, as one of the regulations requires them to have a staff member at each point of entry.

The Grogans pub on South William Street announced on Sunday night that it would not open its doors to customers for indoor service on Monday, due to staff issues.

“Unfortunately due to staff we will not be able to reopen for domestic service from tomorrow, but we hope to do so in the coming weeks,” the pub said via its Twitter account. “We will remain open for foreign service in the future.”

Not open

On Saturday, Restaurants Association of Ireland chief executive Adrian Cummins said he estimates that one in four businesses will not open immediately because it cannot operate as directed and the lack of staff is the most big problem facing the sector.

Restaurants face a staffing “crisis” ahead of the reopening, Cummins said, adding that there would be “start-up problems” when the rules take effect.

The draft guidelines include unexpected requirements, Mr Cummins told the Irish Times, including the need to staff each entry point.

“It’s a huge extra job to have to deal with all the extra entrances to the premises … It’s not what we have been led to believe,” he said.

Business owners are bracing for the reopening, but there will be issues as people get used to the new rules. The association “will see how we are doing” and will evaluate the functioning of the system.

Other business owners will take a “wait and see” approach to returning meals indoors, he said, also noting that some restaurateurs have chosen to wait until all their staff have been vaccinated before they go. to open.

Staffing will be an issue for the industry, as around 30 percent of workers in 2019 were lost.

“There was a shortage of staff before Covid. There is now an absolute crisis in our industry, ”he said.

Mr Cummins is calling on the government to launch a national media campaign to educate people about their homework when they arrive at restaurants and pubs to dine indoors.

“The public must understand what is expected of them when they go out for a meal,” he said, asking people to treat staff in a “calm and respectful manner” as they navigate the immunity proof system.

“Particularly at high risk”

Meanwhile, Orla Hegarty, professor of architecture at University College Dublin, expressed concern that there will not be adequate controls in place to ensure that the air inside restaurants and pubs is not infected.

“We know that under certain conditions it can infect very many people in a very short period of time,” she told RTÉ radio’s Brendan O’Connor show on Saturday.

Restaurants and pubs are “particularly at high risk” in this regard as people go for long periods without wearing masks, she said.

Noting that there are rules for food safety and drinking water, she advocated for rules for clean air.

“The main thing is to prevent epidemics… If an infected person walks in, they can infect someone at their table, but they won’t infect the whole room,” she said.

Professor Hegarty said hospitality workers are not equipped with the appropriate level of personal protective equipment. She noted that she was “totally in favor of opening all these businesses,” but has expressed concerns about the breakdown since last October.

“The difficulty now is that we are opening again with dangerous rules. It would be really unfortunate if they had to close because of this.

Ventilation and filtration are important, and there are many affordable options available, she said, “It’s about measuring the air and making sure it’s clean. “

Comments are closed.